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Jan 5, 2016 4:24 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Blacklisted Contractor Originally Won Job To Close Mecox Cut

Jan 5, 2016 4:24 PM

After much heated debate, the Southampton Town Trustees agreed to close the Mecox cut in Bridgehampton for the winter last month, but not before enduring some additional drama.

Board members originally awarded the $16,000 contract to Southampton-based Guillo Contracting, the lowest bidder, only to rescind that resolution two days later after learning from Southampton Town Comptroller Leonard Marchese that the company has been barred from bidding on or completing any municipal jobs in the state.

When asked about the situation, Mr. Marchese wrote in an email that he did not know why Guillo Contracting was forbidden to bid on such projects, explaining that the New York State Department of Labor supplies the town with a list of those companies that are eligible and those that are not.

According to the Department of Labor website, Guillo Contracting had committed multiple violations of the state’s labor laws, including failing to pay prevailing wages on municipal jobs and the falsification of payroll records.

The company’s ban from bidding on municipal jobs began on July 8, 2013, and is scheduled to end on July 8, 2018, according to the most recent New York State Department of Labor Bureau of Public Work Debarment List that was released on December 31, 2015.

Representatives of Guillo Contracting did not respond to phone messages or emails this week seeking comment.

According to Southampton Town Trustee President Ed Warner, the Trustees did not have a copy of the list of blacklisted contractors when the awarded the contract. Moving forward, he said he and the other Trustees will request access to the list before approving any new bids.

After learning about the issue, the Trustees voted on December 23 to award the work to Chesterfield Associates in Westhampton Beach, the second lowest bidder at $16,150. The firm began the work five days later, on December 28, and finished relocating the estimated 4,000 cubic yards of sand on New Year’s Eve.

With the Mecox cut now closed for the winter months, Town Trustee Scott Horowitz said the board needs to work on a sensible management plan, as well as securing a sustainable funding source, if they plan to utilize mechanical closings in the future.

The Town Trustees have overseen the “letting” of Mecox Bay in Bridgehampton for more than a century. The process is complicated and, most times, controversial.

The cut allows ocean water to flood into the bay, flushing it, increasing its salinity and raising its water level. Homeowners along the bay can have different interests in when the cut is opened or closed. Closing the cut can mean flooded basements for some property owners. Others prefer it be closed to avoid erosion in front of their properties. Boaters, meanwhile, want it closed in the summer months so water levels in the bay stay low.

The Trustees must balance those concerns while also addressing the salinity of the bay. Opening the cut increases salinity, which can benefit fish and shellfish populations.

Mr. Horowitz said the Trustees need to define parameters that can preserve the nature of Mecox Bay, ensure the widest possible beach for public access and also protect private property.

The original cut is a narrow trench barely more than the width of a backhoe shovel, but the flowing water can quickly turn the new inlet into a raging river more than 100 feet wide. Changing winds and tidal cycles can quickly redirect the flow, pushing it east or west in just a matter of hours, shifting its erosive effects.

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horowitz speaks as if the trustees have no idea what they are doing but he has all knowledge. He will be taking over.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Jan 5, 16 5:44 PM
Horiwitz just can't shut up. Typical
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jan 6, 16 8:13 PM
Guillo must be aware it is "blacklisted" & not allowed to bid. The restriction goes until 2018! How did Guillo know that if it submitted a bid that it would get through anyway? That the "blacklist" would be set aside or ignored for them? Seems like the Comptroller is the ONLY one paying attention. How do these people feel that they earn the title of Trustee? They are not aware of the info necessary to perform their office of their own accord. Caught with their pants down not earning their ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Jan 9, 16 2:22 PM