Port of Anchorage contract heading to review board

Nathaniel Herz

The Assembly on Tuesday postponed approval of a $30 million contract with engineering firm CH2M Hill, which the Sullivan administration had picked to manage completion of the troubled expansion project at the Port of Anchorage.

Assembly members voted unanimously to refer the award of the contract to the city's bidding review board, which is being asked to examine whether the city's request for proposals process complied with Anchorage's purchasing rules.

Assembly Chair Ernie Hall, who initiated the referral to the review board, said that he was unaware of any challenges or protests to the selection of CH2M Hill.

But he said that a review was appropriate, given that the city is simultaneously suing the firm over work previously done at the Port by another company that CH2M Hill subsequently purchased.

The proposed contract with CH2M Hill, Hall said, "is the biggest job we've got there, and it's got to be squeaky clean."

"There's no 'oops,'" Hall said.

The proposed contract is for $30 million for five years, with an option for two, two-year extensions at $12 million each.

The contract is scheduled to return to the Assembly at its meeting on Feb. 11.

In a prepared statement, a spokeswoman for Mayor Dan Sullivan said that he was comfortable with the Assembly's vote.

"The Anchorage Assembly needs to feel confident in the decision," she said. "It's very important."


By Nathaniel Herz