The allegations against C.E. Maguire Inc., the consulting firm conducting the Kennedy Library environmental study, remained unsettled this week, 100 days before Maguire must complete its draft statement.
Maguire's repeated attempts to establish a working relationship with the Cambridge community--and clear up the allegations--have drained away much of the time of the firm's executives. George Grant, Maguire's project director, said Wednesday the 20-day-old study has been set back "at least a week."
Maguire, the Harvard Square Development Task Force and an official from the General Service Administration (GSA) arranged a meeting at City Hall for last Wednesday morning to "clear the air" on charges that Maguire had reversed its conclusions in a report on a new shipping facility under pressure from its client, the Massachusetts Port Authority.
The Maguire executives came prepared for the City Hall showdown with charts, reports and a Massport official, ready to explain the firm's conduct. But at 11 p.m. the night before the GSA reneged on its commitment to attend.
Andrew Kauders, an official in the GSA's Department of Environmental Affairs, said he had been ordered not to attend by "my superior and ultimately his superior." Kauders was unavailable for comment the rest of the week.
The civic leaders refused to proceed with the hearing unless a representative from GSA, Maguire's employer, attended. "Because GSA hired Maguire and is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the firm and the study, it is important for the GSA to send a representative," Oliver Brooks, chairman of the task force, said.
Through its attorney, Gerald Gillerman, the task force told the government that civic leaders considered Maguire's integrity and this hearing important. The GSA backed down the next day and agreed to send a representative to the hearing, rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. next Tuesday at City Hall.
The task force released Thursday the names of seven men--including three Harvard professors--who had agreed to serve on an "academic-technical" committee to monitor Maguire's preparation of the environmental impact statement.
The Harvard professors appointed are Roger R.D. Revelle, Saltonstall Professor of Population Policy; John F. Kain, professor of Economics; and Charles M. Haar, Brandeis Professor of Law.
When the task force announced the formation of the advisory committee last November, Brooks described it as a group of 15 to 18 "distinguished" persons.
Although the list of seven released Thursday is incomplete, the task force committee will be small--no more than 12--and will be top-heavy with lawyers. Of the seven members named so far, three hold law degrees, including the chairman.
If the professors find Maguire's conduct of the study unacceptable, the group will have the legal muscle to challenge the impact statement in court.
Even if Maguire is absolved of the Massport charges this week, the community groups intend to keep the pressure on the firm, scrutinize its every move and probably set back the study long past the GSA's 120-day deadline.