Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway felt a construction manager would make sure projects got done on time, and within budget. He said construction delays on projects like the rebuilding of Crawford Street proved how ineffective the city's current approach can be.
"We were trying to fix it," the mayor said, as he talked about the need for a construction manager. "I thought we had something that we could do here to get our projects on (time)."
The mayor negotiated a deal with Yates Construction that he presented to the Biloxi City Council. Yates would oversee 17 city projects, totaling more than $36 million. The contractor would get up to $2.5 million to serve as Biloxi's construction manager. In return, it would guarantee that the projects got done on time, and within budget.
William Yates represented the construction company at the city council meeting. "We are your agent," Yates said. "We are your representative out there, making sure that your goals and your objectives on a project-to-project basis are met."
Councilman Jim Compton supported the concept. "We will manage it better on the front end," he said, "and get faster delivery of these projects."
During the council meeting, Mayor Holloway said a construction manager would be the best thing that could happen for Biloxi. Four of the six councilmen at the meeting disagreed. Their votes against the construction manager ended the debate.
David Fayard represents ward seven. He said the construction manager deal cost the city too much money. "I think we can truly get someone to do it in house," he said.
But the mayor pointed to Crawford Street, and said the city has a track record of not getting someone in house to do it right. He said because the council shot down his construction manager concept, his office shouldn't be blamed for future delays.
"It just stalls city projects," said Holloway. "I mean what we're doing now is not working."