Imperial Valley Press

IID extends service contract with Irby


EL CENTRO — After initial concerns were assuaged, Imperial Irrigation District on Tuesday agreed to extend its service agreement with Irby Constructi­on Co.

This followed the board’s previous vote to overturn a 10-year project labor agreement. Had the PLA still been in place, terms and conditions of Irby contract with the district would have had to conform to the terms of the PLA. However, that ceased to be an issue when the board decided by a 3-2 vote that a procedural error by the previous board had rendered the agreement null and void.

Irby Constructi­on has worked for IID for decades to repair downed power lines.

The district before the pandemic planned to end its agreement with the company and do the work itself, but the pandemic made this impossible.

The agreement the IID approved Tuesday is an extension of three months ending March 31. The total value of the contract is $300,000.

The extension is intended to ensure no gaps in constructi­on services due to storm damage, customer projects, and routine repair and maintenanc­e.

While Irby Constructi­on is non-union they work with other entities that are union and use PLA agreements.

Because IID board ruled the district did not have a PLA, the directors wanted to be sure the extension was not subject to the agreement.

Division 3 Director Jim Hanks asked if the work Irby did would fall under the project labor agreement.

“It does not fall under the PLA because it is only $300,000,” said IID Counsel Frank Oswalt.

“It would not capture this category.”

The $300,000 agreement, the board was told, is well below the $750,000 threshold the previous board set when deciding what projects would qualify for the PLA.

Hanks said it was still unclear what the agreement would capture.

On July 6, 2017, the IID entered into a three-year contract with Irby Constructi­on for $9 million, and on Aug. 4, 2020, the district extended the contract to the end of the year.

As-needed work for repairs and maintenanc­e of the transmissi­on and distributi­on system, as well as the substation electrical infrastruc­ture, increased the contract by $1.7 million.

Division 5 Director Norma Sierra Galindo said if the IID still needs to extend the contract after March 31, she would agree to it.

“It depends on the board,” she said.

Galindo pointed out that Irby Constructi­on is a non-union contractor, though they have companies that work under project labor agreements.

“At the end of the day (Irby) is not union,” she said. “I am very pro Irby because they do good work.”

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