Let’s Talk About Suez For a Minute

July 23, 2020 Off By Jay Hubbard

I’ve tried to stay out of the way and let the new commissioners do their work. Several of them have been really good about keeping me in the loop, especially Commissioner McIntosh. Almost every week I’ve seen messages and conversations back and forth between him and the folks at Suez, both those on the ground here and his contacts in their office in Clemmons, N.C..

Jim McIntosh knows better than anyone in town what needs to be done in our public works, water, and sewer departments, but often it seems like pulling teeth to get these supposed professionals from Suez to do their jobs. Jim can probably tell you lots more than I can, and it’s not my place to tell all I’ve seen, but one thing came across my desk recently that infuriated me, and you need to know about it.

I take the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic very seriously. I wear a mask anytime I’m going to be within six feet of anyone who doesn’t live in my house, especially indoors. I do so because it’s the right thing to do. I travel all over the state and further for my work, and I encounter a lot of people. In short, I could pick that virus up almost anywhere and spread it far and wide for days before I’d know there’s a problem. I wear a mask to protect you, my neighbors, because I care, and I hope you’ll do the same to protect me and my family. It’s the right thing to do.

Apparently at least one of our Suez contractors does not care or respect our community enough to do his part. According to an email sent to Suez managers on 22 July 2020, one of their employees visited the town office and met with Grant Cheek about ten days ago. The employee did NOT practice social distancing nor did he wear a mask.

Jim McIntosh

Later it was discovered that the employee had been sent home to quarantine while he awaited results from a Covid test. Mr. Cheek went to see his doctor on 10 July 2020 and was told to stay at home until the Suez employee’s test results could be confirmed one way or another. In his absence the town had to hire a substitute for two days to assist with water billing, which, by the way, will be a little late this month.

Mr. Cheek returned to work on 20 July 2020. He was out of work for five days, and during that time he was paid, which is right and proper under these circumstances. An employee of Suez carelessly placed not just Mr. Cheek but everyone who works in or visits our municipal office at risk. Our governor and every other American with a functioning brain has asked everyone to wear a mask anytime they are in a public place and cannot maintain a safe distance. It is irresponsible and extremely selfish not to do so.

There are signs on the doors to the town hall telling all visitors that masks are REQUIRED to enter. There is no excuse for this Suez representative’s flagrant disregard, not only for public health in general, but for the health and well being of the citizens whose tax dollars pay his salary.

Commissioner McIntosh closed his email to Suez with a question: why should the Town of Ramseur have to eat these expenses when in fact they were a direct result of a Suez employee’s negligence? I think that’s a damn good question, but I’ll go one better. Why should that employee continue to work here? In fact, I’m beginning to think that perhaps Suez needs to no longer work here if this is the caliber of people they hire to serve our town.