Lee County and Teco gas officials are blaming Posen Construction for not maintaining a proper marking of the gas line that exploded in an inferno last Thursday, along Colonial Blvd in Ft. Myers. Posen also has gotten into trouble for using asbestos-contaminated dirt at the Summerlin-College Parkway fly-over. So, some are wondering: why not just fire the company?
"I don't believe we can just do that, because of legal issues and the fact that changing contractors mid-stream is very difficult and time consuming. We'd probably further delay the projects and further anger the drivers," said Lee Commission Chair Frank Mann. "Besides, there are investigations going on, and we have to let all that play out first."
Interim Transportation director Paul Wingard agreed. "You have materials and equipment that have been pre-ordered by Posen, so it would be very tough to just let them go and get someone new. We'd have to open the process to bids,and that takes a lot of time. And those two projects, Colonial and Summerlin, are supposed to be done next year," Wingard said.
However, Lee Co. is looking at tougher requirements for contract bidders. Wingard says the new rules would require the county to dig deeper into a company's past, looking for issues and violations. He says Lee does some of that now, but does not go as deep into a company's past record as some might like.
Claudette Cabana, who lives near the explosion site on Colonial, said it might be time to get rid of Posen. "Do they deserve the contracts they have, or should they be shown the door," WINK News asked her. "Ah, take the door, yes show them the door!," she responded.