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Metro to Use New Employees to Replace Fired Firms

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By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Metro plans to hire 16 new employees to replace four construction oversight firms it fired Tuesday.

The agency hired the companies in 2000 to coordinate the building of a light rail line to South St. Louis County.

Metro engineering chief Steve Knobbe says the firms could not keep construction on time and on budget.

"We started this process in October of 2003 when we first put this team in default because of their performance," Knobbe said. "It finally came to the point where we were not satisfied, we were not confident with them that they were going to deliver this project in the budget. So we had to make the decision."

Knobbe says no construction contractors have been fired.

Metro still hopes to finish the half-billion dollar project by late 2006.

An attorney for the management firms declined to comment.

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