Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

December 19, 2018 Choosing an architect for care center
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

One supervisor has gotten a lot of publicity lately in her protestations over Johnson County’s choice of Newman Monson Architects to design the new Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center (BHUCC). I disagree strongly. Here are just a few reasons why:

1. State law does not require a bid. It is very clear. So no laws are being violated in any way, shape or form. It is true that Johnson County has typically done some type of RFP/RFQ in these situations, but there are reasons we chose to go a different direction on this project.

2. Kevin Monson has given a great deal of his own time to this project at no cost to taxpayers. This gave him a leg up in terms of knowledge of the project. But he earned that leg up through his volunteerism.

3. Once we began paying an hourly fee for architectural services, we began paying Newman Monson. The board voted unanimously to do so. There is a second leg up.

4. I spoke to a couple local architects about this situation. They were actually glad that the county was being transparent about Kevin Monson’s involvement. They really didn’t want to go to the trouble of preparing a proposal knowing he had such a head start. It would have been a waste of their time and resources. They appreciated our candor.

5. Other architects are free to volunteer on other projects. It just might buy them some goodwill. That said, there was never any quid pro quo – “Work on this for free, and we’ll give you a contract.” In fact, it was quite the opposite. At one point, the board decided we were taking advantage of Mr. Monson and needed to begin paying him.

6. Newman Monson’s rate is right in the middle of what is viewed as usual and customary by the American Institute of Architecture (AIA).

There is nothing to see here. Just someone trying to create a controversy where there is none. It is just another attempt to subvert the BHUCC project. I expect several more before we are finished.

The whole thing makes me angry, because the insinuation is that the rest of the board and Mr. Monson are somehow unethical. That is simply untrue. Mr. Monson deserves so much better, especially given his many charitable contributions to this project and others. Kevin Monson is a great guy and a very giving person. He deserves an apology.

My fellow supervisor claims to support the BHUCC project, but votes against it every chance she gets. She takes every opportunity to delay and obstruct BHUCC progress. Trust me, the people actually doing the work on this project do not feel supported. With supporters like this, who needs enemies?

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