Harrington Electric Co., one of Cleveland's oldest electrical and voice-data-video contracting firms, has sued the City of Cleveland for about $2 million in damages resulting from construction cost overruns on the new Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Harrington Electric has sought collection of its monies in full from the city since 1999. Harrington Electric contends the city mismanaged the critical path of the project, resulting in constructive and actual acceleration and loss of productivity on the project. Those costs, along with statutory interest, make up the bulk of the Harrington claim. Harrington Electric's claim states the company is owed an aggregate $2 million for the following items: unpaid contract balances, unpaid change orders, premium pay for excessive overtime, wage escalation, additional equipment, additional field supervision and project management, loss of productivity, subcontractor claims, project schedule analysis and interest on money owed.

“Harrington Electric — over a two-month period at the end of the project — employed 80 workers to meet the demands of the city. At the request and direction of the city, Harrington paid workers virtually seven-days-a-week, at time and-a-half and double-time wages, obtained extra equipment and supervision, and cash-flowed the acceleration for its expenses,” said John Lind, of Lasko & Lind Co., the Cleveland law firm that has represented Harrington in its case against the city since 1998.

IEC WORKS WITH DOL ON APPRENTICESHIPS

The Independent Electrical Contractors Association recently aired its opinions about apprentice programs at open Department of Labor (DOL) forums around the country.

“If we could just get the administration to focus on career preparation rather than college preparation and in that respect, get the Department of Education to work hand-in-hand with the DOL addressing the needs of industry and labor, a lot of the problems would quickly disappear,” said Bob Baird IEC vice president of apprenticeship and training, codes, standards and safety.

“The electrical construction industry offers great career opportunities; and apprenticeship offers a path for qualified young people to follow directly from high school into the trade……preparing for a fantastic career, and avoiding those college loans.”

SPEAKING OUT ON THE LABOR SHORTAGE

  • Thomas Bowers, president of Satellite Electric Co. Inc., Beltsville, Md., attended the DOL apprenticeship forum in Philadelphia, Pa.

    “Not a single high school educator from the Pennsylvania schools showed up to represent the educational system even though they were invited to attend,” he said. “Counselors tend to shuffle kids that are difficult to deal with into vocational programs. One idea that we discussed was introducing younger kids to different career possibilities through summer camps.”

  • Greg Osborne, apprenticeship director at IEC's Florida West Coast Chapter, attended a DOL Orlando forum and voiced similar concerns. “Many students don't realize they can go to college for free and even get paid to go to school,” Osborne said. “Several apprenticeship programs in Florida have moved from their traditional K-12 or vocational school partners to the community college campuses. Unfortunately, the funding dollars don't follow the apprenticeship programs to the community colleges in a timely manner, if ever.”

  • Gary Dykstra, president of D&G Electric in Lansing, Ill., attended the DOL's Chicago forum.

    “At the end of the forum, two International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) representatives said they felt we were on the same page as far as them on many of the apprenticeship issue. We disagreed on one suggestion for how to recruit more apprentices — we suggested that tax credit legislation like SWEA (Skilled Workforce Enhancement Act) be passed for employers.”

FAST FACTS

Founded in 1907, Harrington Electric has evolved into a electrical and voice-data-video contracting firm.