SPARTA—Monroe County Board members approved funds for mediation between the county and the architect for the Justice Center at Tuesday’s county board meeting.
The county’s legal counsel recommended mediation as a way to resolve multiple errors in the design of the Justice Center identified by the county that it attributes to the Washington, D.C.- based Louis Berger Group. The county contends the design flaws led to more than $5 million in cost overruns.
The board approved appropriating up to $20,000 to be drawn from general reserve funds.
Mediation has an initial fee of about $10,000, Justice Center contractor Kurt Marshaus said. It’s established by the American Arbitration Association to bring both parties together.
“It shows intent,” he said.
However there might be other fees, county board chair Cedric Schnitzler said, which is why $20,000 was recommended by the county’s legal representative Saul Glazer.
“That will give us a little extra to actually deal with any outstanding bills that he would have through this process over the next couple months,” he said. “I do not anticipate spending all of this, but this was the best number that he could give.”
Mediation is set for Sept. 18-19, Schnitzler said. That will be followed by a closed session of the board’s Finance Committee Sept. 20.
“All the parameters are set; you can’t go beyond those two days,” he said. “We will have at the end of the second day a number. Both parties − not that we (have to) agree − but we have to come up with a number that you guys will either have to reject or accept.”
If the county board does not accept the number, the county has the option of proceeding in court.
The grand opening of the facility is set for Friday, Sept. 29.