City will levy major penalty over late truck
Ernie Dowdell, the newest member of the Clinton City Council who had missed a discussion two weeks earlier when the other members couldn’t agree on whether to penalize a contractor for delivering a new garbage truck 54 days late, jumped out front strongly at Tuesday’s meeting. The result: City Manager Mark Skiles and City Attorney Ryan Meacham will negotiate with the company but it will be penalized very strongly – at least 50 percent of what the City had agreed to pay for the truck and possibly as much as 100 percent.
Councilmen who had argued at the March 19 meeting for more lenient treatment basically said nothing Tuesday. The vote was 4-1 to approve a motion by Dowdell for Skiles and Meacham to negotiate Dowdell’s 50-to-100-percent suggestion.
The result means the company, Summitt Truck of Oklahoma City, could be penalized anywhere from approximately $50,000 to more than $100,000. Its bid for the 2019 International truck was $186,587 after giving $6,000 credit for trade-in of an old truck.
Jason Hulin, who had spoken strongly at the March 21 session for no penalty at all, cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday. But even he said when called upon for his vote that he was just going to stick with what he had said before. He then stated simply, “No.”
And Bobby Stewart, who had not said much at the earlier meeting but had seconded a motion by Hulin to accept the truck with no penalty imposed, this time seconded Dowdell’s motion. Others voting for it were Chuy Rosales and Mayor David Berrong. Both had spoken two weeks earlier for lighter penalties.
Tuesday, when the matter came up, Skiles began the discussion by explaining again that Summitt had guaranteed delivery within 150 calendar days after the bid was awarded and had agreed to pay a penalty equal to 1 percent of the bid price for every day over 150 that it was late. In this case the manager said that would be about $100,000 on a $190,000 piece of equipment.
Berrong then called on Dowdell for his thoughts since he was not at the previous meeting when the matter had been tabled without a decision made.
The councilman began by explaining that he was out of town when the previous meeting was held but said he would be glad to say what he thought. He also indicated he had viewed the meeting after the city’s technology supervisor, Gene McCullough, put it on U-tube for him.
“My first thought was we were crazy even talking about forgiving the contract,” said Dowdell. “I had two weeks to mull it over. I also talked to people in my ward, and they 100 percent thought it was absurd we would not think of upholding the contract.”
He also said Summitt is “a huge company with 32 stores” and added, “We don’t owe ’em anything. They know they’re wrong.” (Skiles had explained at the March 19 meeting that it was Summitt which was asking for relief.)
Dowdell added, “I think we should uphold 100 percent of the contract. Sometime in the near future authorize Ryan and Mark to settle liquidated damages up to 100 percent of the contract and no less than 50 percent.”
Berrong asked if he was making a motion for the city manager and city attorney to negotiate for damages of somewhere between 50 and 100 percent of what the city is entitled to.
He said he was, and Stewart promptly seconded the motion without further discussion. The vote was taken, and it came out 4-1.
Dowdell took office last November after defeating longtime incumbent – and former mayor – Don Rodolph in that month’s race for the Ward 2 council seat.