Questionable Behavior Everywhere I Look
This post is a good bit longer than I’d like, but there are several issues you need to be made aware of, and they’re all tangled up together. Find yourself a comfortable place to read before you dive in.
From: Town of Ramseur [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 8:42 AM
Subject: RAMSEUR LIBRARY ROOF
Greetings Sir or Ma’am,
Commissioner Adam Smith here for the Town of Ramseur.
We had some confusion during our bidding process on the Ramseur Library roofing project. With this being said, we have added a “Scope of Work” to this process. Could you please provide me with an updated roofing quote for our Library? Please submit best and finals by 5 pm, August 29, 2019. These bids need to be submitted to our office via email to alleviate confusion. Even if you have to print your bid and take a picture to email them, so be it.
Your quote must include the following:
- The scope of the work that will be performed with a proposed start and finish date.
- Copy of workers comp insurance. (Declarations page)
- Copy of General Liability insurance. (Declarations page)
- Copy of Company Incorporation documents.
- Contract between the company and the Town of Ramseur for review.
- Person in charge of managing the project.
- If you require a deposit in advance, please state on your bid the amount of the deposit due up front.
- Lead time on materials if they need to be ordered.
PLEASE NOTE : ***********ALL BIDS MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA EMAIL*****
to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com- MAKE SURE YOU COPY ALL 3 EMAIL ADDRESSES.
The basic scope of work that is required is as follows:
- Remove pre-existing roof or wrap over the pre-existing. Quote for both please.
- Install insulation board
- Install new roof membrane over insulation
- Install a drip edge on the perimeter
- Will the HVAC units need to be removed or simply lifted? If removed, we will need the HVAC contractors name. Please include this cost in your quote.
- Pull all permits and comply fully with Osha standards and all applicable laws.
- You may add to the general scope in the best interest of the town.
Companies copied on this email:
Thank you all for your understanding and we look forward to receiving your quotes.
Commissioner Adam Smith
Town of Ramseur
If you aren’t up to speed on this story so far, please refer to my earlier post, ‘At Least One Of These People Is Lying‘, to catch up with this very preventable mess.
Adam Smith sent the email above from firstname.lastname@example.org, one of several unofficial accounts he has used for town business in the past. In his message he asks that all bids be sent to his official email account, email@example.com.
Why can’t Mr. Smith bring himself to use one account consistently? To date he has not once forwarded any of his emails or text messages to me as required by law. What is Mr. Smith trying to hide?
Notice that bids are also to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as to Bobbie Hatley’s old account, email@example.com. More than a month after Bobbie’s last day on the job her email address should not be in use for new business like this. For a man who claims to be such a successful business person, Adam Smith sure doesn’t come across as very professional.
About thirty minutes after Smith sent out the new request for bids, Bobby Thompson of Thompson Roofing Services, whose original bid was mysteriously misplaced responded, “This is a very dangerous scope of work and leaves the town open to liability. We will not be bidding this scope.” I have reproduced his email, as forwarded to me by the mayor, in the image to the left of your screen.
On Friday, August 23, I sent the message you see reprinted below to the mayor and all five commissioners, asking about this issue and others that had come to my attention over the course of the week.
It is my understanding that a decision was made yesterday regarding a change in the signatories on our town checking account.
How was this decision reached? Did all commissioners offer an opinion/vote?
Why wasn’t the Mayor Pro Tem the first choice for this duty?
Also, it is my understanding that Mayor Shaw plans to call a special meeting for next Friday, knowing that at least one commissioner will be unavailable as we enter the Labor Day holiday weekend.
It is my understanding that the subject of this meeting is to be personnel, regarding the search for a new town clerk. Please justify the decision to hold a meeting while a board member is out of town. I see no reason why this decision can not wait until all board members can be present. It’s not too late to do the right thing Mr. Mayor.
Also, I am aware that Mr. Thompson refused to bid the library roof out right. I have the email. I expect to receive copies of ALL other response/bids on the day they are received, in keeping with my ongoing, lawful request for all email communications regarding public town business. Mr. Thompson’s decision not to bid speaks volumes about this process, and reflects poorly on those board members responsible for that ongoing fiasco.
I am requesting written responses from each of you no later than noon Monday, August 26, if not before. This is your opportunity to tell me your side of any and all of the above issues. I will only accept it in writing in response to this request. Treat it like a public record request.
Remember, you all work for the taxpaying citizens of Ramseur.
I offered each member of the board an opportunity to make a statement about the roofing project and the troubling decision by Thompson Roofing Services not to submit a new bid. As you can see, I also wanted to know why Commissioner Caudle, who is our current Mayor Pro Tem, was not chosen to be the required second signature on the town checking account.
Before clerk Hatley resigned, all checks issued by the Town of Ramseur were signed by her and Mayor Shaw. Commissioner Cox was added to the account a few weeks ago, under protest from Commissioners Overman and Caudle. Mr. Cox has recently faced a health problem serious enough to warrant a few days in the hospital, if the information I received is correct, and someone in the office decided another change is in order.
On Friday evening, August 23, Commissioner Overman forwarded me the emails you see below. We had a brief telephone conversation that night, which prompted me to ask all members of the board for comment. Commissioner Caudle sent a response to my questions over the weekend, but as of 5 p.m. Monday, August 26, no other commissioner has responded.
Mayor Shaw’s response to Commissioner Overman the following day is reproduced below.
The only scenario I can imagine where a check must be written, signed, and delivered all in the same business day would involve someone being grossly negligent in paying our bills, to the point of being several months behind.
Grant Cheek told me in a private meeting, with two neutral witnesses present, that since clerk Hatley’s departure he is “doing all kinds of stuff” in the office, despite stating earlier this month in a public meeting, that the only job he does in the office is “water billing clerk”.
The mayor’s seeming insistence on making this change outside an official meeting, and without a public vote, is a slap in the face to all citizens of our town.
As I mentioned above, Commissioner Caudle responded to the questions I sent to all board members over the weekend. Regarding my question about the checking account, she wrote, “The mayor called the commissioners individually. I told him that I did not agree with the decision (still do not). I believe it should have been myself or the interim finance officer (Pam Wortham). As far as I know we were all contacted, but I have not heard from Grant [Cheek], Randy [Cox] or Adam [Smth].”
Addressing my question about the still unannounced special meeting this coming Friday, August 30, Mrs. Caudle wrote, “Two commissioners will be unavailable as I will be in Ohio visiting my mother and sister. The mayor did state that he left a copy of the applications in my box for my review and to offer any opinion I may have. I would still like to meet the candidates before a decision is made.”
On Monday, August 26, at 10:15 a.m., Mayor Shaw sent me the email you see below.
The mayor appears to have forgotten that the regular board meeting was rescheduled from Monday, September 2, to Monday, September 9, at the last monthly meeting; September 3 is a Tuesday. His statement that a decision on check signing will be made at the September board meeting contradicts his response to Commissioner Overman above, or maybe he forgot that conversation took place.
The mayor’s email confirms that he did indeed schedule a special meeting for the Friday before Labor Day weekend, one of the biggest travel days of the summer vacation season.
Why is Mayor Shaw scheduling special meetings without first consulting the voting members of the Board of Commissioners? Shouldn’t he at least make an attempt to discover if they will be available before scheduling such a meeting? Why would he call a meeting for the eve of a holiday weekend, unless he hopes to further a personal agenda or force a tie vote?
A previous board felt it necessary to enact a special resolution to rein in this mayor for repeated abuse of limited powers of his office. The resolution was rescinded months ago, but it didn’t take long for Mayor Shaw to begin misbehaving again; dropping information on commissioners during meetings, instead of supplying it ahead of time, and scheduling meetings when there is a high probability all board members might not be available.
Did the man learn nothing from the experience of being publicly spanked, or does he simply not care? Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between.
If a special meeting is warranted at all, the interim clerk should have been asked to obtain several dates when the applicants could be available for interviews. Then, with that information in hand, either the mayor or the interim clerk should have emailed all of the commissioners and sought a date and time when all could to attend.
Serious job seekers should be prepared to accommodate odd interview times, especially one requiring five people with full time jobs to be present. The mayor’s presence at these interviews isn’t even necessary. If all five commissioners are present it’s very unlikely he’d be required to cast a tie-breaking vote.
As for my concerns about the library roof bids, and Mr. Thompson’s decision not to participate, Commissioner Caudle sent a separate email to her fellow commissioners, the mayor, attorney Wilhoit, and yours truly as follows.
“I spoke with Mr. Thompson regarding his concerns and decision not to put a bid in on the roof. I understand his concerns and believe he is correct. There are no specs in the email that was sent to the roofing contractors as we agreed upon in the meeting.
“Due to our obligation to award based on price (if it passes the smell test) it would be easy for a company to use a lesser grade roofing material, offer a lower bid and we would not know until the deterioration became a problem.
“It is my opinion that we should request specifically request a roofing material such as KEE – https://www.fibertite.com/what-is-kee (Mr. Thompson’s suggestion)
“We should also be addressing the issue of the insulation thickness and the fire rating of the material.
“A less expensive option is TPO roofing, however the quality and life of this material may not be as good as the KEE roofing – https://www.firestonebpco.com/us-en/roofing/tpo-roofing-systems
“Please take a few moments to do some independent research.
“Please do not reply to all in this email as it would be a violation of the open meeting law. If anyone wants to respond to me, please send an individual email.”
Shortly after Commissioner Caudle sent that message, Commissioner Smith sent her a very condescending text message, which you can see in the image at right. Be sure to click on the image and read it for yourself.
Mr. Smith has established a reputation for hiring his buddies to work in “his” departments. Remember the electrical work done last year at Sunset Knoll cemetery? Only the lights at the Coleridge Road entrance are still working today. And don’t forget the travesty that was the masonry work his friend from Pleasant Garden did that had to be torn down and replaced after public protests made it unavoidable.
Give N’Go is a relatively new company from Charlotte, Smith’s old stomping ground; he lived there for a while and grew up a few miles west in Kings MOuntain. Mr. Smith was asked point blank, in a public meeting, if he knows them, and how they became aware of this project. His response was, “Somebody gave us their number.” I’m sure many of us would love to know who that someone was, but I have little faith that the answer we’d get would be truthful.
After initially being awarded the contract, before the Thompson bid was discovered, Give N’Go issued an invoice, sent from an email account at a temporary staffing agency. If that wasn’t irregular enough, anyone in business will tell you that a company asking for a 50% deposit is probably grossly under capitalized, and may or may not be able to fulfill the contract. With Thompson pulling out of the process we should all be very concerned about what happens next.
All of the above should make anyone considering a vote for Mayor Shaw, Commissioner Cheek, or Commissioner Smith stop and reconsider those choices. It’s long past time for funny business like that described above to end.Print This Post