On Nov. 6, I returned from elk camp to attend an "emergency" meeting about the roof of the Grant County Courthouse. As the meeting began, we were informed that the Court was declaring a state of emergency for the roof, and they were going to hire a contractor based out of Pendleton to do the work for $180,000. Because it is a "state of emergency," Judge Scott Myers said they were not required to get multiple bids for the work.
The courthouse does not have a very large roof. I gave my background in commercial roofing and suggested the bid was very high, that other bids should be taken and the court could save up to 30%. Judge Scott Myers said "it is not about the money." I asked relevant questions about the roofing company's offer regarding materials and process.
Judge Myers said they have had leaking roof issues since the elevator was put in years ago. He also said that he had personally thought the roof was going to cost $150,000 prior to consulting any roofing professional, suggesting he is a "licensed roofing contractor." I felt he was suggesting that my experience and knowledge was insignificant.
I was soon asked if I could start the roof on Nov. 11, if I were to submit a bid. I felt like they knew the answer to that already, and of course I said no because of prior obligations.
I encouraged the court to get at least one other bid from a company in Baker that had offered to come give a bid, according to Judge Myers. They made a motion to give the other roofer an opportunity to bid and hold another court meeting on Friday to decide on awarding the bid. They voted yes, unanimously. I was relieved that they were going to at least get another bid. I left the meeting. I was later informed that after I had left, they changed their mind on the other bid and simply decided to hire the contractor out of Pendleton.
I have lost sleep over this, because I know very well the cost of materials, dump fees and labor for such a project. If any one person was managing their own money, I feel they would responsibly look for ways to use it wisely.
I am uncomfortable with knowing our County Court uses their funds so frivolously. I am very disappointed in the management of our County Court and the way I was spoken to by a non-bias elected official. I am looking for more responsible representatives to step forward next election that we can put our trust in to take care of such issues in a timely manner with the County's spending being managed wisely.
EDITOR'S NOTE: To clarify this letter to the editor, note that the county court did not vote unanimously on Nov. 6.
Darrell: "... They made a motion to give the other roofer an opportunity to bid and hold another court meeting on Friday to decide on awarding the bid. They voted yes, unanimously."
The court voted to extend time for bids until Friday with Commissioner Jim Hamsher voting yes while Commissioner Sam Palmer and Grant County Judge Scott Myers voted no. After this vote, Palmer and Myers questioned to accept the bid from Palmer Roofing and voted yes. Hamsher did not change his vote and wanted to continue looking for bids until Friday. The decision to accept the bid from Palmer Roofing was not unanimous.