From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 47 - February 17, 2005
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commissioner Linn: Fire the architect

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Commissioner John Linn said that since the last commission meeting when problems with the heating system at the Big Piney Library were raised, he has taken a look at the facility himself.

Linn said three or four ceiling fans in the center section of the building should be installed, along with several more on each side of the high ceiling.

Commission Chair Betty Fear said while she thinks ceiling fans should probably be installed, she wants to hear back from the architect and contractor on how they think the problems should be resolved.

"I don't think we should go ahead and do something until we're sure we're not letting them off the hook," Fear said.

Commissioner Bill Cramer noted that the commission will request an update from architect Brad Waters at the next commission meeting.

Linn also raised the issue of the contract with Waters for the courthouse complex construction project.

"This contract only allowed eight visits for the architect ... from 2000-2004," Linn said.

Linn noted that 7.7 percent of the project total is the compensation rate for the contract.

Cramer said the typical rate for an architect was 10 percent when the commission signed the contract.

Linn said having the architect paid 7.7 percent while giving him authority for project change orders is "sort of like having a coyote in the henhouse to me."

Linn asked a series of pointed questions about the contract with Waters, until Fear pressed Linn to get to the point.

Linn said: "Quite frankly I don't think were getting our money's worth. I don't think he has best interests of the county in mind."

Linn said he would advocate canceling the contract and having someone else finish the job. Linn said that he doesn't care for the design of the building and isn't in favor of moving forward with a courthouse roof replacement project with Waters as the architect.

With the project due for final completion by June, Cramer said he's not in favor of making any changes at this time.

Cramer and Fear noted that everyone working in the courthouse was consulted on the project, and project designs were posted for the public as well.

Fear said that complaints Linn is receiving seem to be "public grousing about various little things."

Fear said while she also is "not real happy about some of the designs," but isn't prepared to change horses this late in the race.

With a short list for final completion of the project, Cramer said, "I think we're too far along in the process now."

Fear asked Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford to prepare a budget and narrative scenario for the life of the courthouse project, to "put this issue to rest once and for all," to show how the project scope changed over time, as did the project costs.

Raising another issue, Linn asked the commission about what complaint policy is in place, be it complaints regarding the road and bridge, planning and zoning, or other general complaints in the county.

Linn suggested the county develop a formal complaint procedure. Anyone making a complaint should put it in writing and sign it, he said. Fear agreed.

"I don't know if I want to get that formal," Cramer said.

Fear said if someone complains to planning and zoning, trying to stir up trouble to delay a project, without stating their names, "I don't think that's right."

Lankford noted that the public can act as the eyes and ears for the county, and the county might not know that something is wrong without receiving such information.

Linn made a motion to have department heads draft a complaint form and pending the commission's approval, and start using them. Cramer said such a procedure isn't necessary.

"I would rather depend on the common sense of the department heads," Cramer said, declining to second the motion. Fear also declined, not wanting such a formal policy in place. She suggested the department heads be consulted prior to adoption of any policy.

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