Sureties Explained

I am writing about mistakes in your article, "Why I-84 Is Turning Into Connecticut's Unlucky Number". It is implied that L.G. Defelice Inc.'s surety for the Interstate 84 project, USF&G, allowed me to form a new contracting firm. It did not.

Defelice had two bonding companies, USF&G and XL Specialty Insurance, for different projects. After reviewing Defelice's financial position in the fall of 2005, and determining that its financial condition would not have allowed the survival of the company, I met with the two bonding companies. I proposed for their consideration the creation of a new company, which would take over Defelice's projects. I believed, and continue to believe, that this method would be the most cost-efficient way to complete Defelice's state projects, and least disruptive to the traveling public.

One of the bonding companies, XL Specialty Insurance, accepted my proposal for the New Haven and New Milford projects. Consequently, those projects have experienced no delay and will be completed on schedule. The other bonding company, USF&G, has not accepted my proposal. The projects insured by USF&G are the I-84 Waterbury project and the West Haven project. They were delayed while the insurance company found a contractor to complete the work.

XL Specialty Insurance Co. holds sole responsibility for the completion of the New Haven and New Milford projects. That it has chosen my new company, Hallberg Contracting Corp., to take charge of these projects demonstrates its confidence in the ability of the new company. No funds of L.G. Defelice Inc. were used in the formation of Hallberg Contracting Corp. The company was formed using personal and borrowed funds. Defelice's demise would have happened regardless of the creation of Hallberg Contracting Corp.

Realistic Safety Rules

I was surprised and concerned that you would urge the passage of federal laws providing for felony penalties for willful violations at construction sites in your editorial, "Wanton Disregard of Safety Rules Should Be a Felony". This is not a solution and it is a gross and ill-informed overreaction.

Presumably, it is company owners and officers who would be personally charged. Our experience mirrors that of other employers, that the greater majority of accidental injuries and deaths are caused by unsafe acts and risky decisions by rank and file employees. Training helps a great deal, but people are human and fallible and bad individual choices will always be with us. Accidental injuries resulting from wrong tools, misuse of equipment and lack of proper maintenance are certainly preventable and in the control of owners and management but are by far the lesser cause of most injuries.

It is our experience that inspections are not uniform in their scope and manner of conduct, nor does every OSHA district interpret regulations in the same way. It is not unusual for otherwise identical situations to be cited for alleged violations of different standards at differing levels of seriousness. Assessing whether a person has legally acted in a wanton manner is an issue that can be settled only in court. It is unreasonable and unconscionable to require an owner or officer to bear criminal prosecution, fines or incarceration for an unsafe act or intentional disregard of safety rules done by an employee at a distant jobsite.