Henry said Thursday the investigation report has moved Rowell forward and will result in something good for the city that she takes credit for.
“I was the one that launched the investigation and got us to this point,” Henry said. “You will see that my investigation has created change that is positive for Roswell.”
Wilson predicts more cost overruns after he enters office, but in addressing them Roswell residents will no longer be in the dark, he said.
“This has been a bouncing ball,” Wilson said of Oxbo. “No one has gotten dirty and said what really is the problem that we have here. I accept that people will get mad at me. I will figure out what needs to be done.”
The city is realigning Oxbo Road and nearby side streets and intends to build a safer intersection with South Atlanta Street. But work on the closed road stopped in early 2021. Project costs have zoomed past its $9 million budget to almost $14 million.
City Council recently learned that E.R. Snell Contractor, Inc., which was hired for the Oxbo roadwork in 2019 for $5.9 million, wants to amend its contract for at least an additional $600,000.
Deputy City Administrator Michael Fischer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the possible increase will be discussed further after interim Transportation Director Dan Skalsky and city staff are up to speed on the state of the roadwork and the properties that were acquired.
Roswell replaced former Transportation Director Muhammad Rauf in October and named Skalsky as interim director. Skalsky was serving as the director of public works.
The city has begun to follow recommendations of Jarrard & Davis law firm. which conducted the Oxbo Road project investigation. Policies are also being reinforced for the training and certification of project managers. The city has a 2017 manual of project management guidelines that hasn’t been followed, Fischer acknowledged in an Oct. 27 transportation meeting with City Council members.
Wilson told the AJC that residents have been left out of the process. The mayor-elect said he will form a transportation advisory commission of residents who will weigh in on how projects impact residents’ quality of life.
When Henry released the investigation report on the Oxbo Road project on Sept. 30, she said she was unaware and surprised by the “extent of the issues with this project,” particularly those pertaining to the acquisition of land.
Wilson said he believes part of Roswell’s problem has been that city departments don’t communicate and have different strategies that inevitably conflict. Wilson said that has likely led to overly long City Council meetings that can last four to six hours.
“Everyone has a different agenda,” Wilson said, looking ahead to his agenda as mayor. “This mayor and City Council will come out with one strategy and vision for the city ... The city will work off that basis. A lot of undercurrent that pops up, if it doesn’t fit with the overall mission, will be negated.”