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Sunday, December 20, 2015

How Donald Trump solved government gridlock after six years and millions of tax dollars wasted: Lessons of Wollman Rink ought not be forgotten-NY Times Editorial, November 13, 1986

11/13/1986, "Lessons of the Wollman Rink," NY Times Editorial
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"New York City bungled the job of reopening Central Park's Wollman Skating Rink for six years, wasting millions. Then last June, city officials said it would take two more years to correct the mistakes and complete the job. 


He made his point: today the rink reopens for skaters, three weeks ahead of schedule and $750,000 under projected cost. The whole affair ought to reopen discussion of laws governing city construction contracts. 

Mr. Trump's achievement required skirting the spirit if not the letter of New York State's archaic Wicks Law, which bars use of a general contractor for public works costing more than $50,000. The state and localities must seek separate bids for construction, plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation work. Agencies like the Parks Department or Board of Education, with little expertise, are left to coordinate the work. 

Though intended to increase competition and reduce building costs, the Wicks Law does the opposite. The inevitable conflicts and delays caused by multiple contracting scare off responsible bidders, while inviting shoddy work, cost overruns and endless litigation. The city estimates that the law costs the taxpayers $100 million annually. 

Yet the State Legislature, responding to union pressure, refused to act last session on Governor Cuomo's proposal to repeal the law and allow the city to use general contractors. Meanwhile, the city isn't helpless. It could be setting tougher requirements for bidders and making more use of experienced project managers for complex jobs. 

As the skaters glide again against the backdrop of the midtown skyline, the lessons of the Wollman Rink ought not to be forgotten."

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Comment: "Lessons" noted by Free Republic poster

"Lesson one: Trump can get the job done. 

Lesson two: Government waste and incompetence can be fixed. 

Lesson three: Some truths are so undeniable that even The New York Times has to admit it.

Lesson four: Try as you may, you cannot erase history."



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I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.