Bridgeville councilmembers voted unanimously this week replace the borough’s longtime engineering firm, The Gateway Engineers.
Councilmembers did not offer a reason for their vote, but afterward, borough manager Lori Collins said that delayed projects were a contributing factor.
“We had a few projects behind schedule,” she wrote in an email. She did not specify which projects, nor how far behind.
The surprise firing came two months after the same councilmembers voted 6-0 to re-hire The Gateway Engineers for 2019. Virginia Schneider was not present for that vote.
Immediately after ending the contract with Gateway, council approved a search for a new engineering firm and appointed Coraopolis-based Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering as interim borough engineer.
One of that firm’s founders, Larry Lennon, was recently appointed to Bridgeville’s planning commission. Partially retired, Lennon is no longer a partner at the firm, but still works there. When he was appointed to the planning commission, he and his firm were praised for their expertise in the types of flood problems that Bridgeville is grappling with.
“A big piece of what [his firm] deals with is flood control, water, and wet weather programs,” said planning commission chairman Tim Nath.
Lori Collins said that Lennon’s appointment to the planning commission was not a factor in the eponymous firm becoming interim borough engineer the following month.
“Lennon, Smith, Souleret was chosen because we are familiar with their work,” Collins said.
Council will appoint a permanent replacement after reviewing proposals from various firms.
It won’t be a clean break between Bridgeville and The Gateway Engineers. Instead, Gateway will continue to work on a few projects they already have underway, including a grant application for flood mitigation in the Baldwin Street corridor.
The sudden shift in engineers will not impact Bridgeville’s 2019 budget, Collins said.
“Tasks assigned to engineers will be billed accordingly,” Collins said.