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Council Awards $11.1 Million Town Hall Contract

Members of Moorestown council went with Sambe Construction—despite the contractor's involvement in a messy project elsewhere in SJ. Construction is slated to begin soon.

After five years of planning, Moorestown is just a few weeks away from breaking ground on a brand new town hall and library.

Township council unanimously awarded a contract to Pennsauken-based Sambe Construction for $11.1 million for construction of the complex, which was $1.6 million cheaper than the projected cost.

“I feel terrific about it. It’s been a long haul,” said Mayor John Button, who acknowledged that he was pleased he could cross the project off his “to do” list after vowing to get it done when he took office four years ago.

“It’s going to be a wonderful thing for our town,” he added.

Sambe was one of 28 contractors that bid on the project last week, according to Rob Notley, project executive with Greyhawk, which is overseeing the project.

A bid of $7.4 million was submitted by Vineland-based Ogren Construction, but was withdrawn by the contractor. Sambe’s was the next lowest bid.

Democratic council candidate Brian Sattinger questioned whether the township and its team of professionals had enough time to properly vet Sambe’s bid, especially given the problems the construction firm has had with the Egg Harbor Township High School expansion.

According to a story in the Press of Atlantic City, the Egg Harbor project is way overbudget and past the deadline for completion. Sam Girlya, Sambe’s CEO, referred to it as the “project from hell.”

However, Greyhawk project executive Rob Notley explained that Moorestown’s municipal complex is a far less complicated project than the Egg Harbor Township High School expansion—not least of all because of the New Jersey School Development Authority’s (SDA) involvement with the latter project.

“Admittedly, the project did have its difficulties,” said Notley. “Many projects the NJ SDA has done have had difficulties. The SDA is a large, complicated bureaucratic organization, with many checks and balances.”

Notley said he’s worked with Sambe on two other major projects—including additions to the Moorestown High School (MHS) back in 2005/2006—and has been very pleased with the firm’s performance. He said the MHS project was one of the more complicated school projects he’s been involved with over the last 10 years and Sambe met every milestone and kept change orders below 2 percent—the state average for school projects is 5 to 10 percent.

“Does every project with every contractor go well? No … Our relationship with Sambe, even coming out of the Egg Harbor Township project, is still a good relationship,” Notley said. “One of the first calls I made to elicit bid responses was to Sambe. I knew the project was in their wheelhouse … I do not have personal concerns—Greyhawk corporately does not have concerns—working with Sambe again.”

Notley told council he anticipates construction should be ready to begin within the next 30 to 45 days.

S. H. R. November 02, 2012 at 12:46 PM
http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/features/f1/ ( Report on Sambe Construction ) Here is the full article about these incompetent folks from Sambe Consturction. Read it for yourself Moorestown Taxpayers. How dumb is Moorestown? How dumb John. You can read children's stories but what about this report on Sambe? Did you actually READ IT? We had a $5.00 trash can fire. John Button managed wasting how many millions on this project that Moorestown did not need? Now, he awards this contract for $11,100,000.00 million dollars to a firm with already a really bad record of wasting millions of dollars and behind a year or so on deadline. Should we vote for these Republicans?
Glenn D. November 02, 2012 at 01:08 PM
As an attorney practcing here in town, I thought I'd comment on the article above as well as the comment above. The Council's decision to award the contract to Sambe is apparently the correct decision. It is extremely difficult with public bidding laws to reject a bid and award to another contractor. There needs to be flaws in the bid documents submitted, which it appears that there were none, and the bid needs to be deemed responsibly in amount and qualification, which is appears to have been. Additionally, the contractor must submit payment and performance bonds which is essentially insurance for the Township that the project will be completed and that all of the contractor's bills will be paid. While the contract may ultimately cost more to finsih than the original bid, that is not normally the responsibilty of the contractor. It could be the fault of flaws in the plans and specifications or the result of differing site conditions that could not possibly have been foreseen. Without knowing the contractor awarded the contract, I can almost assure you that had their bid been rejected because of the circumstances alleged in the project stated in the article, there would have been a lawsuit and an injunction to stop the project from being awarded to the second bidder. The reality is that an article explaining the public bidding and contract awarding processes would be extremely helpful to the readers who are more accustomed to awarding home improvement contracts.
S. H. R. November 02, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Glenn D. a truely written piece by an lawyer. You really didn't say anything at all. How much time would you bill for your failed opinion? Really. What a joke. Firstly, no contract should have been awarded or reviewed by someone millions in the hole overbudgeted? Did you notice the blame game? Secondly, no contract should be awarded to this group Sambe. Period. Any contract awarded should stipulate, " Completed on time. No moneys or bills will be honored one day late. Period. " That is how I manage contracts. Don't get the job done on time. It is on YOU. " Enough with the lawyers. Use common sense. .
S. H. R. November 02, 2012 at 01:31 PM
This latest news from our Republican Town Council is real evidence these folks should not be voted for in November election. Incompetent, wasteful, irresponsible. Don't vote Republican. Save Moorestown from incompetence.
Eddie's Meds November 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM
hey glenn d don't worry about the ranting posts above its just carrilli off his meds again....thanks for the legal insights
TrueRepublican November 02, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Republicans may have just lost the election. How could our Republican Party allow such a decision like this? The Moorestown voters will remember how their hard earned tax dollars are being mismanaged on such a grand scale. How could our Republican Town Council award a significant contract to a firm with so much baggage?
Bill November 02, 2012 at 04:55 PM
SHR & TR Do you two take the time to read and think about what you read before making your stupid comments ? Same goes for Brian Sattinger with his foolish comment in the article trying to score cheap political points.
Yah Mo B There November 02, 2012 at 06:23 PM
unfortunately this is a public project and therefore isn't driven by common sense, but laws some bureaucrat put in place. So what YOU (or anyone else using common sense) would do is irrelevant. Any town council has to follow the rules put before them. Simple as that. All the rules were designed to protect taxpayer dollars, but as with all government interference there are unintended consequences. Like have to accept a bid from a firm you deem incompetent. The decision wasn't really councils anyway. Based on the rules it's was made for them. Your real gripe should be with stupid gov't regulations.
The Situation November 02, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Big surprise. Lawyer nonsense. Lift rock, crawl under.
G. Williams November 03, 2012 at 04:19 AM
SHR, I find it amusing that your take the time to research Sambe Construction through the Press of AC, and then chalk up Moorestown's motive for their TH project to a $5.00 trash can fire. Maybe, you were just indicating that the trash can cost $5.00, since the damage was closer to two million. Public Contracts do not function the way you describe in your comments above. Additionally, the underlying problem in the Egg Harbor project was involving the SDA in the first place. Their level of incompetency and nightmarish bureaucracy is well known. Changing from the SCC to SDA didn't help them any. I am not playing Sambe Construction's tune, but verbal change orders and promises of payment are unacceptable in the industry. Your inaccuracies, and your Don't Vote Republican comment above tell me you are a bureaucracy-loving, big government Democrat, looking to furfill Obama's promise of socialism and bureaucracy. I mean, hope and change.
Bill November 03, 2012 at 04:34 AM
No, SHR is just an old kook with nothing better to do then be a miserable cuss. I'm sure every town has a few of them.
Dave Johnson November 03, 2012 at 04:15 PM
All of you bashing a local General Contractor without knowing the details are the reason why there are so many problems on projects and with the media. As Glenn D said it properly the GC on the job has little control over the plan and specifications including a governmental agency who fails to conduct proper plan reviews. So because the GC was delayed on a project outside their power and authority you Google the name and immediately assume this company is a fluke. They built at least 3 other projects in Moorestown under budget did you know this? Before you just assault a family owned business and play politics why don't you first try to be a business owner in NJ and see how hard it is to make a profit and employee people then perhaps you can revisit your comments. Stop hiding behind a curtain and wake up and see the reality of how it really is. The tax payer is always protected because a bond is in place, pathetic to read these comments.
Richard Booth November 05, 2012 at 02:05 PM
As a former school board employee I have dealt with Sambe Construction while the MAC and other sections were being built. They were nothing but professional and worked with us regarding any of our concerns. They did a great job and I feel they will do a great job on the new Town Hall project. I for one am very happy that Sambe Construction is doing the job it will be done right...

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