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Council amends, approves public works contract
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The city's new logo - photo by Illustration provided

Hinesville City Council members have approved a professional services agreement with the new parent company of its public works provider.

ESG, which has had the city’s public works contract since November 2016, merged with the larger Inframark in October 2021. But under the original contract’s assignment clause, the city could not assign the pact to the new company.

Council members, some of whom had questioned what the merger meant and just how the council had been notified of the merger, unanimously approved amending the contract.

“As long as the fellas are taken care of and nothing changes, then I’m good,” Council member Diana Reid said. “At the end of the day, my concern is the fellas – they’re the ones out there 24/7.”

Council member Vicky Nelson also said she was satisfied with the agreement.

There will be some changes for the 86 public works employees, such as holidays. But Howard pointed out the city asked the new company to submit what amounted to a request for proposal, as if it were a competitive process.

“We have had extensive discussions as it relates to benefits and retirement and the transition as a whole,” Howard said. “I specifically inquired as to how that process is transpiring. Though the transaction is not fully complete, but from what I have been told and what I understand, it is currently progressing and it is going to be better for some of them.

“Overall, I think it is a great thing for the company that the employees understand how the transaction impacts them, what this transaction means and how it’s going to work.”

Council members held a workshop December 15 with Inframark and ESG representatives about the merger. City Manager Kenneth Howard said that after meeting with ESG representatives and their legal counsel there were two recommendations.

One was to amend the agreement and the other was to assign the agreement to the new company. There also are new points of contact as former ESG CEO Clay Sykes was named to the Inframark board of directors and fellow ESG co-founder Dan Groselle was named CEO of ESG Operations.

“It is necessary we amend the agreement to make those changes,” Howard said.

There are several areas of the contract that will be changed or amended, Howard added, though professional liability certificates and coverages must be updated.

The city also asked for documentation that would show what the transaction was. Though the paperwork submitted was redacted heavily, city attorney Linnie Darden said, the city now has that in hand.

Releasing the full merger documents, which included sensitive and confidential financial information, could have led to competitors finding that out.

“We’re satisfied with where we are right now,” Howard said of the agreement with Inframark and ESG.

The cost of the contract with the company will be $7.95 million over the fiscal year, which ends October 31, 2023. There also is a $2 million contract with the company to perform grounds maintenance on Fort Stewart. 

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