Jefferson City Council debates out-of-town architect selection

Jefferson City government announced Friday it likely will “begin a new bid process for the professional services contract” authorizing a company “to design and prepare bid documents for the city’s new Fire Station 3,” which is to be built on Missouri 179, north of Industrial Drive.

The city’s Friday afternoon news release also said 1st Ward Councilman Mike Harvey, who chairs the city’s Public Safety Committee, announced at the Nov. 7 City Council meeting he will withdraw the bill he already had introduced, awarding that design contract to the Columbia-based Peckham & Wright Architects firm.

That proposal ran into trouble during last week’s council meeting, when Harvey’s original ordinance was debated, and an amendment offered to switch out any references to Peckham & Wright with Architects Alliance, a Jefferson City firm.

Fifth Ward Councilman Ralph Bray said the local firm had the expertise needed for the project and the added benefit of being a local company, being able to oversee the project from a close distance and giving the council an opportunity to reinvest in the community.

But 2nd Ward Councilman Rich Koon said a selection committee had looked at bids from several firms, including Architects Alliance, and had come to the conclusion that Peckham & Wright was the best firm to do the job — a decision that should be respected.

Though Bray’s amendment passed by a vote of 6-2, with 2nd Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte abstaining and both Koon and 1st Ward Councilman Mike Harvey voting in opposition, 3rd Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner was not present for Monday’s council meeting, so the amended bill was placed back on the informal calendar without coming to a final vote.

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Koon said the selection committee had gone through an entire process and negotiated a contract when one council member made a decision on his own to go with another firm.

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