• Time To Rein-In The Out-Of-Control Greenwich Central Middle School Building Committee

    Screenshot, GCMSBC’S Sixth Community Engagement Forum – MAY 1, 2024

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    In a follow-up to our article on Mr. Tony Turner, Chairman of the Greenwich Central Middle School Building Committee (GCMSBC) who recently lost a “No Confidence” vote, the Centinal has learned that the Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) Hearing Officer has released a report on the complaint filed by former Building Committee RTM representative Michael Spilo regarding a June 2023 meeting of the GCMSBC. 

    In the report the Hearing Officer found that Mr. Turner violated CT General Statue § 1-231 (a), by allowing non committee members to attend a confidential executive session.  The Hearing Officer also concluded that Mr. Turner violated CT General Statue §1-200(6), by holding a vote during an executive session.

    The Centinal has also learned that the GCMSBC has replaced the project’s Owner’s Representative. 

    In 2022, the BET representative to the GCMSBC, Nisha Arora, wrote of concerns she had voiced to the GCMSBC regarding the selection of the Owner’s Representative and the Architects. The concerns included a conflict of interest in that the Owner’s Rep had developed the Educational Specifications for the project, that the same company had been replaced as Owner’s Rep at a project in Torrington due to cost escalations, and that two previous projects managed by the Owner’s Rep were under investigation by the FBI.  Ms. Arora also expressed concerned that the Architects had bid above the budgeted amount and were therefore being hired improperly.  Mr. Turner and several others, including Democrat Laura Kostin and Vice Chair Claire Kilgallen ignored these concerns and voted in favor of these firms.

    The Centinal also discovered that prior to being selected by the GCMSBC, the same Owner’s Rep was replaced on another similar project in Cromwell after filing incorrectly for State grants. The next deadline for the GCMSBC to file for state grants is in June.

    During the 2022 meeting to select the Owner’s Rep and Architect, Mr. Turner held the vote in executive session. When this occurred, Ms. Arora complained to the Town Attorney, and a BET member recommended that Mr. Turner and the GCMSBC get FOI training.  The training never happened, and when the vote was retaken in public, Mr. Turner, improperly insisted votes must be the same as those previously cast illegally in executive session.

    All this was also discussed at a Greenwich BET meeting, but Democrat BET members Moriarty and Weisbrod downplayed the issues and Mr. Turner attempted to censure Ms. Arora for informing the public of these problems.

    Now it seems other problems have caused the GCMSBC to drop the Owner’s Rep, and possibly the Architect.  So it seems that, in addition to the illegal actions of the Chair, the GCMSBC failed to perform proper due diligence. This brings into question the judgement of those on the GCMSBC who voted in favor of these vendors, as well as the judgement of the Selectmen who appointed these committee members.

    The GCMSBC is in serious disarray.  Fortunately, only $3.5 million has been spent so far.  It remains to be seen who will replace Mr. Turner and whether the replacement will be able to find cost reductions for this, the largest construction project in Greenwich history and the most expensive school per student in the state.  It would seem the best move is a complete do-over, but don’t hold your breath.

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