The Guilford County Board of Commissioners took a stunning and unprecedented step after a two-hour closed session at the end of the board’s Thursday, March 2 meeting.
The board voted unanimously to terminate a giant construction contract with Samet Corp., which has been acting as the construction manager at risk for the downtown Greensboro project that includes demolishing the old Guilford County jail and constructing a new Sheriff’s Department headquarters and adjoining parking lot.
The commissioners remained silent after the unanimous vote and did not give any reason why they took the action.
Samet staff, who waited with Justin Outling, an attorney with Brooks Pierce, throughout the meeting that lasted until nearly midnight, looked extremely displeased when the commissioners came out of closed session and voted to terminate the contract for the project that Samet has been working on since last year.
Phase 1 of the contract had been virtually complete and this sudden move by the board means that Samet will not handle Phase 2 and Phase 3.
In January, county staff estimated cost of the entire project would be $24 million.
Shortly after the decision, Guilford County government sent out a brief press release.
“The Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted to terminate its Construction Manager At Risk contract for the Guilford County Law Enforcement Administration Building pursuant to Section 13.1.3 and 13.2.3 of the contract due to a change in the working relationship. The project is currently nearing the end of Phase 1. The completion of demolition is the next step in the multi-phasal project. Demolition on the interior of the building has already begun. The county intends to work with the contractor to ensure the protection and preservation of the work. Guilford County will conduct a competitive bid process for the remaining phases of the project in the near future.”
The clauses cited in the contract do not shed light on the reason behind the termination. One gives the county the right to terminate the contract on seven days’ notice if that is to their “convenience.”
The mystery remains as to the disagreement that has brought the issue to this point since county officials remain tight lipped.
Samet Vice President of Marketing and Client Services Suzanne Turner said immediately after the decision that Samet did not have a comment at that time. However, she said the company would have something to say on Friday, March 3.
For decades, Guilford County and Samet have had an excellent relationship and Samet has handled many major projects for the county.
We need some journalism here, to uncover the truth…You won’t find it in the News & Record, but maybe in the Rhino.
I’ll bet someone from Samet was caught whistling “Dixie “ at the job site and hurt skip’s feelings
Oh my my my the king with no clothes has got his tighty whities in a knot. Skip you should be ashamed Grow up and get over it. You YOU are supposed to represent all citizens of Guilford County not just the black ones. Karma is coming skip, KARMA is coming. I still have Billy Yow’s tee shirt boy was he ever right when he printed it.
It’s because all those non qualified people in county government are worthless…
Probably because Samet isn’t a “minority” contractor
Months of wasted time and millions in wasted dollars over some hurt feelings. Act like adults people!
Social equity in action folks. Now you’ll get some sista’ that will contract to do it at 50% more, which is fine with the board, then hire Samet to do the work at less than what they bid to begin with. A benefit to Guilford County, no, but that’s not what matters here. Wake up people!
Thank you to the commissioners who took work from the minority tradesman who was working on the project.
I bet the new company will be the one that Skip Austin recommends. We know where this is going.
Their side,the countys side,now please let us hear the T R U T H !!
Perhaps antisemitism?? Our Woke movement only gives favors to “acceptable” minorities. Nothing, and I do mean nothing is fair and above board. MLK must be rolling in his grave! His dream was a world based on character. I think he meant being decent, honest, and full of integrity. Someone has misinterpreted “character” for strange, deliberately off center, deceitful, and woke.