Fletcher’s contract altered to remove “must move to Lawrence County” portion…
LOUISA, Ky. — Once upon a time all the grass mowing at Lawrence County schools was done by maintenance personnel all summer but some time back the board decided that it is cheaper to hire a contractor to do the job. No more salary, no more benefits to pay, no more equipment to buy and maintain — thus the job has been bid out for at least eight years.
This year a complaint was called in to The Lazer by one of the bidders on the mowing contract, Mike McKinney lamenting the fact the board accepted the highest bid it received for the services from Lawn Express owned by George Williams, who has had the contract for the past two years.
“The contractors’ bids included a breakdown of how much the contractor would charge for all schools (which included the campus here at Bulldog Lane),” Fletcher said. “The bids included the amount, per site/school, that was totaled for a complete rotation (1 completion of grass cutting at each site/school). The board agreed to pay the contractor based on completion of the work, not necessarily a weekly rate.”
Dr. Fletcher readily agreed that the BOE took the higher bid.
“During the board meeting, members discussed the quality of work that Mr. Williams provided in the previous year,” Fletcher said. “I believe that, based on his quality of work and the service that he provided during the previous fiscal year, the bid was awarded to Mr. Williams.”
McKinney was not happy about the explanation. “How can anyone else have a chance to get the contract when the bid process is already decided?” he asked.
Board chairman Heath Preston agreed with Fletcher.
“We liked the service we got from Mr.Williams, any time we asked him to do something extra he did it and he always got the jobs done on time,” Preston said. “The difference in the cost was not substantial so we all agreed to stay with Mr. Williams.”
Former board chairman Jim See made the motion at the March 2016 meeting and the second was by Madelynn Roberts with a 4-0 vote for $1,800 per week.
McKinney said the high bid would cost taxpayers an extra $15,000 per year but both Fletcher and Preston said they did not think it was that much but could not say exactly how much extra the BOE paid.
Williams said he has insured and tax paying employees and has enough of them to get the job done and done correctly.
“They seemed to be satisfied with our work last year and they decided to reward us with another contract,” Williams said. “It takes a lot of manpower and equipment to do this job and I think the board felt like we were the best choice because of that.”
Fletcher’s contract altered
While researching the mowing bid we learned that Supt. Fletcher’s 2014 contract included a clause that required him to move his family to Lawrence County from Martin County where he now lives.
The board voted unanimously to remove clause #7 from the contract and not require Fletcher to move to Lawrence County. He has reportedly had a difficult time selling his beautiful Martin County home because of the downturn in the coal economy which has devastated Martin County. His children do attend Lawrence County schools, however.
In the event he sells his house and moves to Lawrence Co. he will still be eligible for the part of the contract that pays him $2,500 in relocation expenses.
No other part of Fletcher’s contract was altered according to the minutes of the board.