EAST LIVERPOOL - A city school board member voiced a number of concerns about the on-going Patterson Field improvement project during Monday's meeting, saying the board's failure to use fiscal caution and discretion is a violation of the people's trust.
Member Richard Wolf expounded during the portion of meeting set aside for board member comments, saying that, although he voted against hiring the "inexperienced" architect, he has been "reluctantly acquiescent in all other aspects of this fiasco, and for that I apologize and regret it."
Wolf reiterated earlier concerns that a site analysis was not completed, resulting in an additional $168,000 for a geopier system which he said was implemented in violation of statutes that require sealed competitive bids be sought for any project over $25,000.
He called the failure of the general contractor to include electrical, plumbing, wiring and mechanical costs in the original bid "highly irregular," noting that
subsequent costs for each of those were accepted as quotes, again though sealed competitive bids were required.
"At no time have I seen any competitive sealed bids, although the cost of this project is in excess of $1.5 million and growing," Wolf complained, adding, "The original intent of this project was the renovation of the concrete stadium; however, irresponsible leadership has led this board to expend excess monies on new facilities while disregarding the needs of that stadium."
He offered other concerns, including not requiring that local people be hired for the project, the purchase of a new PA system at more than $12,000 without first determining what was wrong with the existing system or the cost of repair and failing to have a new survey conducted of the property involved.
Wolf also addressed the use of umbrellas by fans in the stadium, saying the athletic association had decided to ban them years ago to avoid confrontation between those blocking the view of others, draining on others and preventing hazardous situations.
According to Wolf, the ban has not been enforced and at a recent game, those with reserved seats were either compelled to move or confront those whose umbrellas were blocking their view.
"Anyone attending should be prepared to cope with these conditions without interfering with the view of those seated near them. Having had the same reserved seat for 45 years, I resent having to personally police this reasonable rule. To those who believe it is necessary to bring umbrellas to football games, I say, 'If you can afford an umbrella, you can afford a garbage bag.'"
Other board members offered no comment on his remarks.
Board member Scott Dieringer expressed his dismay that the golf team traveled to a recent match with their parents in personal cars, rather than in a school van.
As chairman of the athletic committee, Dieringer was advised by President Janice Martin to call a meeting to discuss the matter.
The board approved a recommendation to release $13,900 to complete the Thompson Park softball field project and for an agreement with East Liverpool City Hospital for biometric screening as required by state code.
The board convened in executive session for 45 minutes to discuss the investigation of complaints against a public employee, returning to take no action.