MOUNT PLEASANT — The consulting company that provides Mount Pleasant with the project manager who oversees Foxconn matters is requesting a nearly 25% increase in its contract with the village.
Milwaukee-based Kapur and Associates, which employs Foxconn project manager Claude Lois, has been getting paid $20,000 per month for nearly the last two years, equaling $240,000 per year. With the contract up in August, Kapur is requesting to be paid $24,000 per month — $288,000 per year.
The Mount Pleasant Village Board discussed the contract at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday and will likely continue discussing the matter at the next Village Board meeting in May.
Lois, a former Burlington mayor, agrees with his employer that there needs to be a change.
“We can’t continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Lois said. “I average, probably, 50 plus hours a week here and more plus miles and everything else. None of that stuff is being turned into bills, it’s all being absorbed by Kapur and Associates.”
There has not been any negotiation with Kapur and Associates or with Lois on the contract, and Lois told the board he was the one who suggested the $4,000 a month increase.
“The amount is still well below what we would normally charge for my services, quite frankly,” Lois said. “We’ve been a partner with the village all through this process and that’s why we’ve only gone up, quite frankly, the $4,000 that we asked for in this contract.”
Also in the new contract proposal is a $150 per hour charge for overtime.
“We have worked on this project for the last two years and I have seen every firm that you have hired, and I can assure you folks that I’m the best value you have,” Lois said.
Alan Marcuvitz, the attorney working with the village on land acquisition on the Foxconn project, said Lois is a valued member of the Foxconn “team.”
“We wouldn’t be where we are without Kapur’s help,” Marcuvitz said. “We need to finish this journey and we need our team to get us there.”
Trustees raise questions
Village Trustee Ram Bhatia had an issue with the amount of the increase after basically being told Kapur’s rates are what they are.
“I know you don’t get paid that much,” Bhatia said to Lois. “But from the stand point of a 25% increase, that seems to be high.”
Bhatia said he is not questioning Lois’ value to the project but said he is uneasy with the Village Board approving such an increase.
“What if it was a 30% increase?” Bhatia asked. “Would we say OK?”
Trustee Gary Feest was OK with the $4,000 increase, but had an issue with the additional $150 per hour overtime fee proposal.
“It always bothers me when I feel people are in the salary range, that they want overtime as well,” Feest said.
Lois said the Foxconn project is in a much different place compared to where it was in 2017.
“I think the project is somewhat getting defined and somewhat under control,” Lois said. “I’m trying to limit myself to only 40 hours here as much as I can instead of being here for 50 or 60 hours a week.”
Village Administrator Maureen Murphy said she would monitor the amount of work for which the village is billed.
“Anything over 40 hours a week will be my responsibility and I will not authorize anything beyond 40 hours,” Murphy said.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without Kapur’s help. We need to finish this journey and we need our team to get us there.” Alan Marcuvitz, special counsel for the Village of Mount Pleasant