bill-diggs_wen.jpgMiami-Dade County is undertaking a procurement process to select the company that will overhaul our community's decaying sewer system through a consent decree. CH2M HILL has been ranked number one by the County's selection committe.

As the world’s number one program manager for 10 consecutive years, as ranked by Engineering News-Record, CH2M HILL has successfully delivered nearly 50 similar consent decree programs and projects in the U.S. The second ranked firm, AECOM, is currently working on two consent decree programs and four related projects, giving CH2M HILL nearly 10 times more experience.

Furthermore, the CH2M HILL team is comprised of several minority firms and organizations that will handle public outreach for the project, including the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will be responsible for recruiting other minority firms to participate in the project, putting Black and Hispanic-owned firms to work, and more importantly creating jobs.

When AECOM found out they lost, they began an aggressive campaign of rumor, innuendo and false information to try to reverse the selection committee's decision. AECOM has put the citizens of Miami-Dade County in jeopardy by playing games with the procurement process. The County's process was comprised of two tiers. In Tier 1, both teams were required to submit their qualifications. Both teams did so.

However, AECOM took the additional step of including an unsolicited approach section in their Tier 1 response, although the firm knew that section was not required until Tier 2 of the process. CH2M HILL followed the rules and did not include an unsolicited approach section in their response. The past 37 procurements for the County’s Water and Sewer Department have called for an approach to be submitted or presented during Tier 2, not Tier 1.

In Tier 2, CH2M HILL once again followed the rules and included an approach as required. After reviewing both proposals in full, the selection committee concluded that CH2M HILL's plan was the preferred choice. The second-ranked AECOM team continued their rumor, innuendo and false information campaign to discredit the County's process as flawed.

Their behavior caught the eye of not just the citizens of Miami-Dade County, but our Mayor as well. In an effort to be transparent, Mayor Gimenez requested expert opinions on these allegations. The Miami-Dade Ethics Commission, County Attorney and County Inspector General investigated the claims and found no wrongdoing.

Miami-Dade's wastewater treatment system is outdated and needs an immediate overhaul. The County has an obligation to expedite this program. Failure to move forward in a timely fashion will postpone the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and put taxpayers at risk of incurring expensive fines.

The County's ethics experts have validated this process. It's time for the Mayor and Commissioners to ignore AECOM's smoke and mirror games and uphold the selection committee's recommendation of CH2M HILL. When CH2M HILL wins, minorities win.