On Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen voted to award the contract for architectural and consultant services for the and to Silver/Petrucelli, rejecting the .
The four members who voted no on the first motion were the same four who voted yes on the second motion.
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Before the decision was made, First Selectman Maurice Blanchette reminded everyone that whatever the outcome, that they should respect the efforts of the PBC and that they need to remind themselves that they need a strong PBC to shepherd these projects over the next several years.
Just prior to the first motion being voted on, Selectman Leo Miller said that he couldn’t support the motion.
“I’m just not comfortable at this point, I still have questions,” he said. “I’m perplexed at this point.”
After the motion was voted on and the PBC’s recommendation was rejected, the question then became what to do. PBC Vice Chairman Gary Magnuson said that in his opinion, the options were to give the project back to the PBC – which they didn’t want to happen, hire CREC (Capital Region Education Council), or hire Silver/Petrucelli.
He said that he feels sufficient work was done by the PBC and that he knew there would be commentary from other boards and the public.
“I’m comfortable with decision I’ve made and the vote I’ve made and I’ll stand behind that vote,” he said.
The other PBC members stood behind Magnuson.
The second motion was then voted on and the decision was made.
After the meeting, Dean Petrucelli, Vice President of Silver/Petrucelli, said that his expectation coming into the meeting was a fair and honest selection. He also said that you learn that there’s no such thing as a guarantee or expectation and that he’s seen situations like this before.
“I wouldn’t say this out of the ordinary,” Petrucelli said. “We would prefer them not to be this complex, but after you make your living doing this, you surely see the full gamut of struggles that municipalities go through on selections.”
Hugh Pearson from Moser Pilon Nelson said that in his mind, this was clearly one of the possible options.
“Every town goes through certain gyrations and has their own political function and meandering through a process,” he said. “I’ve never seen it quite like this and Ellington is not usually like this – it is a little more unique than what most people go through. But it is what it is, the people have spoken. I knew ahead of time that this was clearly one of the options that could be happening. It’s weird but we’ll win a job now and again and we’ll lose a few now and again, that’s just the way it is.”
Blanchette once again mentioned the dedicated volunteers on the boards and committees and knows that there are some bruised feelings due to the passion the members have.
He said that it was clear to him that the board had to make a decision that would bring this to a final point and that it couldn’t just wait.
“We couldn’t wait and still hope to have the same plans enacted for the same rough price,” he said. “We could have had a one-year delay if we only lost a couple months. There was a certain urgency here. Having taken the first motion not to accept the recommendation of the Permanent Building Committee, I’m glad that they took that second motion because otherwise, we could have had the worst of all worlds.”