Good Report on Gulfport's Public Works Contractor

Responding to the public and their own dissatisfaction with the performance of Optech Incorporated, Gulfport city leaders instituted a Performance Based Contract last year to gauge the private company's performance running the city's public works department. The results are now in.

"In some areas, customer satisfaction, they were satisfactory," says Public Works Director Kris Riemann. "In percent completion of service request, they're doing well. In routine maintenance in water in sewer, they're doing well. In streets and drainage, there is some improvement there that could be made. And in quality and timeliness, in both areas there is some improvement."

In an independent audit, Optech reached or exceeded most of the benchmarks set by the city. However, the sewer and water department easily outpaced the performance of the street and drainage department. It's an area all agree leaves room for improvement.

"The system in place is a very good tracking system and we've seen the areas where we need to improve. That's what we'll work toward," says Bobby Knesal, Optech's Contract Administrator.

Council members expressed their satisfaction with Optech's efforts and their own system of checks and balances. It withholds or rewards payments, depending on the company's job performance.

"Accountability is always good, and it appears to me the attitude on both sides is greatly improved. We needed that," says Ward Seven Councilman Billy Hewes. "It reflects more of a teamwork concept."

A concept Hewes says is needed throughout the city and its government.