Where’s Commissioner Cheek?

March 13, 2019 Off By Jay Hubbard

On Wednesday, March 6, 2019, just before 5 pm, Bobbie Hatley sent the following email to all commissioners, the mayor, and counsellor Wilhoit.

“Attached are 2 proposals presented for the unit replacement at the Wastewater Treatment Plant approved during budget. Grant is going with Charlie’s Tin Shop which is the lower bid and the monies are available per budget. If you need a refresher, it was under items presented by Suez for approval.”

The bids were for air conditioning units for the office and an “ice box room” at the wastewater treatment plant on Roundleaf Road; one from Charlie’s Tin Shop ($5100) and one from Gardiner Heating & Air ($5400). Both bids are linked in the underlined text in the paragraph above for your convenience. Please take a moment to compare them.

Apparently this work was discussed and approved sometime in the past, because it wasn’t mentioned during Mr. Cheek’s report on water and sewer at the meeting held on March 4th. Listen to that report below.

At about 9:15 pm the same night, March 6th, Mayor Danny “I’m Only Here To Break Ties” Shaw weighed in with his two cents, saying it was “OK” with him. Notice that the mayor only sent his response to the clerk.

The following morning, just before 9 am, Commissioner Caudle asked what warranty Charlie’s Tin Shop offered, as their proposal did not include any information of that nature.

Just before 10:30 am Ms. Hatley responded, “Terry Lewallen [with Charlie’s Tin Shop] has confirmed that it is a 10 year warranty on unit and parts plus a one year warranty on labor.

Just over an hour later, Commissioner Caudle sent the following email to the mayor, the clerk, and Mr. Cheek.

“We can get two more years warranty for $300 and Charlie’s Tin Shop proposal doesn’t show the warranty listed.

“Grant – is there a specific reason you want to use Charlie’s vs Gardner? I would feel more comfortable if you would have the warranty written on the proposal and (sorry for my ignorance), what is the remote for?”

A little after noon the same day, Thursday, March 7, 2019, Ms. Hatley responded to Commissioner Caudle’s concerns:

“My understanding is that Charlies’ is placing 2 separate units. There is additional cost associated with Gardner’s for busting a hole in the wall to the office. The bill presented was only for the units. There is only $5,400 available in the line item for budgeted item. That is all the knowledge I have on the situation. If you have any additional questions please contact Grant or Terry.”

Click to enlarge

A few minutes later counsellor Wilhoit weighed in as well, and at that point the conversation ended, unless there are other mails in the chain that I have not received. I would be happy to forward all of the above emails to anyone who asks; just drop me a note.

I also have a few questions of my own.

Why is Mayor Shaw so quick to offer his opinion when he takes every opportunity to publicly state that his opinion “doesn’t matter” because “the mayor doesn’t get to vote”?

Why is our attorney, Bob Wilhoit, included in this discussion? There are no legal issues involved, and while he did raise some valid points, which I agree with, the last I checked he’s not a town commissioner. What’s his billable rate for answering or reading Town of Ramseur emails?

Why is Bobbie Hatley, our Clerk/CFO, and not Commissioner Cheek, sending out emails regarding this issue, and why is Ms. Hatley the one responding to all of Commissioner Caudle’s questions, including those directly addressed to Mr. Cheek? Nothing against Ms. Hatley, but she’s got plenty of her own work to do.

Where is Commissioner Cheek? This entire conversation is about “his” department, and we all know he covets his departments as if they were literally his own personal property?

Grant’s To-Do List

I’m aware of at least one instance where board members were advised not to use email communications, presumably to avoid a legal request to supply all emails regarding non-confidential town business to the publisher of this website. Perhaps Mr. Cheek has taken a cue from his next door neighbor, appointed commissioner Adam Smith, who has so far failed to supply at least three emails that I know exist, in direct violation of that legal records request.

Or maybe there’s another reason why Commissioner Cheek doesn’t want to put anything in writing.

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