LAX construction consultants: Do they deserve what they’re paid?

When it comes to building airports, what’s the difference between a city worker and a consultant?

According to my reporting, the answer is a lot of money.

I obtained recent invoices from two consultants involved in construction management at Los Angeles International Airport, where officials are involved in billions worth of building projects, including a new international terminal. Senior consultants earn more than $300 per hour, plus assorted extras.

Records show that Paslay Management Group consultants get $2,648.75 per month for an apartment in the “Playa Del Oro” on Lincoln Boulevard near LAX, which bills itself as a “five-star luxury resort community.” The firm bills Los Angeles World Airports $172.64 for AT&T U-Verse service at the apartment, a charge that appears to be for Internet and cable television. Paslay is also billing separate hotel rooms and flights, invoices show. They’re also billing for things like office supplies and meals, according to records.

Consultants at Parsons Transportation Group had similar bills and another apartment, records show. But I didn’t find any home cable bills.

In a very lengthy statement, which you can read here, airport officials said the billings were completely normal and that Los Angeles simply does not have employees on staff who can manage construction projects of this magnitude.

What do you think? Is Los Angeles World Airports too reliant on outside consultants to manage construction? Or is this standard procedure?

And should public sector consultants earn so much money? Is paying them the going rate simply part of doing business for entities like airports? Or should the consultants drop their rates when doing public sector consulting?

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