Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Some thoughts about Monday’s fiasco.
What happened can be directly laid upon BOTH the Administration and Council.
Administration although calling for a Special Meeting did not inform the Council beforehand the reason for the meeting. Moreover the action that was to be approved was accomplished two days before. Council was being presented with a “fait accompli” in the anticipation of acceptance of the fact.
Administration did not release any details to members of the public until 90 minutes before the meeting via email. This 17 page document is incomplete; the All Action Demolition proposal which was dated 3/4/15 does not include the invoice,we have only Watson’s word. Yates proposal is dated 3/17/15 and there is no mention of qualifications, insurance coverage except a vague documentation about a binder a day later with out contents.
There can be no doubt that Yates’ proposal was after AAD’s was received and made public. Supposedly 6 contractors were contacted, but Watson did not name them or when they were contacted. If AAD submitted a proposal on 3/4/15 that meant that the emergency existed at that time.
City Administrator Smiley could not answer questions about the process of selection, or why the delay from the 1/6/15 “notification of imminent hazard” on the need to demolish the building or Remington & Vernick’s 2/2/15 that the structure is “beyond repair and in imminent danger of collapse”. Or why the Historic Preservation Committee had not been notified and why the Planning Board Director had not received State approval until the day before the demolition took place?
Neither Watson nor Smiley gave satisfactory to questions from the public or the Councilors, except noting that Yates did not have a contract when the demolition took place but were acting on their proposal. I am sure one responsible in Administration ever saw an insurance policy or even a clause holding the city not responsible in case of accident in the proposal or the not completed contract.
There are too many unanswered questions or unacceptable answers from Administration’
On the other hand Council and Council President Rivers despite justifiable complaints decided to turn this into a political issue. Despite Alan Goldstein’s suggestion that they table action for at least a week so they could get an understanding of the circumstances; Rivers, Brown, Taylor, and Tolliver voted to not approve of the resolution declaring the emergency. This would have validated the demolition. Instead Council burned its bridges for political reasons. Greaves was proper in Abstaining.
The non-approval of allocating money for the demolition and the employment of Yates were properly defeated with only Williams voting yes.
But Rivers went further and demonstrated her agenda by suggesting that the Council pass a resolution to hire their own attorney to investigate why Yates was given the Job. She was informed by the AJ the City Clerk that a special meeting had to be limited to the stated agenda.
Rivers comments were that the Council had hired its own attorney several years ago to investigate the spending of $25000 (verbally corrected by former Mayor Robinson-Briggs to $20000.00) on a meeting about Crime.
The fact that Rivers was comparing a horse with a donkey was immaterial; the question at that time had been the legitimacy of the Mayor’s using illegally funds designated specifically for another purpose without Council’s approval. No one on this Council raised the question why the previous administration in 2012/13 did not take action on this building, or why the present administration had waited so long.