Duncan wants General Services director fired over Silver Spring Transit Center -- Gazette.Net


A week after county investigators released a report detailing mismanagement at the beleaguered Silver Spring Transit Center, county executive candidate Douglas M. Duncan wants the man in charge of the project fired.

“I am writing to urge you to hold the manager of this project accountable and relieve General Services Director David Dise of his duties, effective immediately,” Duncan wrote Thursday in a letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett. “The taxpayers of Montgomery County — and the commuters of Silver Spring — deserve nothing less.”

In a response to Duncan, Leggett said the county plans to hold accountable those responsible for the project’s flaws, delays and cost overrun. But Dise is not the man responsible, he said.

“If I thought Mr. Dise was responsible for the flaws and the resulting delays in the Silver Spring Transit Center, he would be gone already,” Leggett wrote in his response Thursday.

Those responsible for the transit center’s flaws are the private construction, design and specialty inspection companies, Leggett wrote.

Duncan (D) is challenging Leggett (D) for county executive. Duncan served as executive for three terms until 2006 when he ran for governor. Voters elected Leggett in 2006.

The Silver Spring Transit Center was originally scheduled to open in 2011, but construction defects have led to delays and cost overruns. The $120 million project at Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring is now sore point for county politicians and residents alike.

“Excuses have been made and fingers have been pointed, but we still have no clear plan to open this important transportation hub,” Duncan wrote. “It’s time for someone to be held accountable, and make sure that this construction fiasco be given the highest level of attention to safely complete and open the transit center.” Leggett has said the county will open the facility when it is safe.

The county plans to begin initial work to on the structural problems on Tuesday, county spokesman Patrick Lacefield said. Crews needed to wait for warmer weather to apply a concrete overlay designed to fix varying concrete thickness and cracking in the structure.

In a letter Thursday to Council President Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown, County Chief Administrative Officer Timothy L. Firestine said the county aims to complete work on the project by the end of the year.

“The county will fix these flaws, deliver to Metro a safe facility with a 50-year life span consistent with our Memorandum of Understanding, and hold these companies responsible for additional costs caused by the delays,” Leggett wrote. “You can play politics on this if you want. I am not going to let politics get in the way of safety, getting this Transit Center open for commuters or protecting the interests of County taxpayers, period.”