State business to replace boiler at sub base
By Jennifer Grogan
February 25, 2010
Connecticut funding being used by Navy to improve infrastructure
The Navy plans to hire at least one Connecticut company for projects being funded by the state at the Naval Submarine Base.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell presented Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus with $7.65 million in September to upgrade the facility for divers and replace the aging boilers at the base power plant.
Rell then wrote to Mabus to ask that "competitive and qualified" Connecticut firms get "special consideration" when the contracts are awarded.
Connecticut companies already do a significant amount of work at the base. Five hundred contracts with awards of more than $25,000 each are listed for the base since 2005 in an online government database.
About 200 of the contracts, together worth more than $13 million, were awarded to companies with a Connecticut address.
In a letter dated Feb. 12, Mabus said a firm in the state would replace the boilers at the base, through a Small Business Administration program that helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete for federal contracts.
The contract for the dive locker cannot be restricted by state residency, under current laws and regulations, Mabus said. Federal acquisition rules clearly state that there must be "full and open competition" in awarding government contracts.
But the Navy will award the contract through a competitive process to a business owned by a service-disabled veteran, Mabus said. There are several of these firms in the state that could compete.
At the bottom of the typed letter, Mabus wrote "Thank you and the state again for this gift."
Rell said she was grateful to the Navy "for recognizing the propriety of our asking that Connecticut businesses be given some consideration in qualifying for the work the projects will bring."
"This is a win-win for our state, good news for the sub base and good news on the jobs front," Rell said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing Connecticut companies bid for and win these projects, which are necessary to maintain and enhance the military value of the base."
The legislature authorized $40 million for improvements to the base in 2007 to help ensure that the base stays off any future Defense Base Closure and Realignment list. One of the primary reasons the Pentagon proposed closing the base in 2005 was its aging infrastructure.
Connecticut is the first state to give the Navy money to fully fund construction projects at a military base.