College Station City Council Has Unscheduled Discussion On The Merits Of Contract Change Orders

Photo from the city of College Station (seated L-R) councilwoman Linda Harvell, mayor John Nichols, and councilwoman Elizabeth Cunha (standing L-R) councilmen Mark Smith, William Wright, Dennis Maloney, and Bob Yancy.
Photo from the city of College Station (seated L-R) councilwoman Linda Harvell, mayor John Nichols, and councilwoman Elizabeth Cunha (standing L-R) councilmen Mark Smith, William Wright, Dennis Maloney, and Bob Yancy.

The College Station city council’s last meeting included an unscheduled discussion about change orders when the council pays more for services compared to the original contract.

Initiating the conversation, newly elected councilman Bob Yancy said “I want to make sure we’re being careful that the vendor community gets the message that when you receive a fixed price contract with the city of College Station, footed by the taxpayers and citizens of College Station, then that’s what you’re going to get.”

Yancy also said that “you have no more leverage than you’re ever going to have with a vendor than when you’re negotiating that contract at the beginning.”

In response, city manager Bryan Woods said “It’s been a different couple of years market wise. So the leverage at the beginning is depleted at best. If you’ve purchased a home or tried to build a home recently and told them you’re going to be in a fixed price contract, that they’ll you that you ‘well, we will not be building you a home.’ ”

Woods also said “I think a lot of times in government, you start off with a contract that has everything but the kitchen sink so that you don’t ever have to come back and face a council with a change order.
And it’s one of those things where it’s hard to prove a negative. And so, I will say that we try to push to be lean and accurate, especially when we have long duration complex projects.”

And Woods says they try to negotiate at the front end, what it would cost for additional services if they are needed.

Click below for comments from the January 12, 2023 College Station city council meeting.