‘Shoddy work’ needs venting

Encinitas residents are steamed the cooling system at the new library needs to be replaced costing more than $250,000 just three years after it was installed. With services to seniors cut and city fees increased, citizens descended on City Hall seeking answers for the waste of money.
Temperatures rose when residents demanded the names of those at City Hall responsible and called for “heads to roll.” Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks refused to answer. While citizens sought accountability, the council members responded to staff’s report by spouting off accolades of praise. Rather than hold staff and themselves accountable, council gave a hall pass to those responsible for the failure. Elected officials sought political cover when leadership was needed.
Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks spewed some hot air blaming the “shoddy work” of the contractor while ignoring the fact the city signed off on the project. Stocks oddly blamed the global recession for forcing the contractors out of business and strangely “applauded” the same staff who failed to do their jobs costing taxpayers a cool quarter million dollars.
Stocks has a history of giving praise when it is not merited. He endorsed and sang the praises of former Mayor Dalager who received a vote of no confidence from the public finishing last in the city election and later pleading guilty to the DA for violating the public trust.
City employee Bill Wilson said the library’s ventilation system often contradicts itself. The same could be said of staff and City Council. Rather than accept responsibility, Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks are pointing the blame at a third party inspection company.
Wilson said the windows should open automatically in good weather and cannot do so because contractors failed to install all the parts. Wilson told the council, “A couple of components with the original design were not completely installed or connected” and that since the library opened the “HVAC system has not been fully functioning.”
According to Wilson this would mean the windows and the HVAC system failed to function from day one and that city staff knew within the one-year warranty period and failed to get our money back. The alternative explanation is we have had no sun in North County since 2008.
Public Works Director Larry Watt, contradicting Wilson, told the council a different story. He said the system’s problems weren’t evident immediately after construction and “the system didn’t fail on day one.” How could the problem not be evident if parts were not installed, connected or functioning fully? It was reported Watt said it wasn’t until the equipment really started failing that staff took notice. What is the difference in Watt’s world between really failing and kind of failing? What was the city’s solution for kind of failing equipment at the new $15-plus million building? Duct tape? It is the failed leadership of Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks that is costing taxpayers, not the failing equipment.
Stocks asked staff to pursue due diligence on the warranty. Once again, Stocks is a day late leaving the taxpayers a dollar short. In the private sector due diligence is done before action is taken not after. Like during the final inspection of a nonfunctioning HVAC system with parts not connected and windows not working.
In Encinitas, due diligence is code for the mayor and deputy mayor got duped and the taxpayers got the bill. Bad real estate appraisals, costly over runs and lack of due diligence has cost taxpayers millions.
President Truman said “The buck stops here.” Blame was not tolerated. As a kid when I made excuses my dad would tell me, “You wanted the job, you got the job, now do the job.” If Mayor Bond and Deputy Mayor Stocks are incapable of doing the job they should step aside and stop passing the buck. Hiding behind statistical data that the library is well-attended does not alter the reality and fact that shoddy workmanship on their watch is costing taxpayers.
If Deputy Mayor Stocks is going to ask for warranties maybe we should make Stocks give us a candidate warranty if he runs for City Council in 2012. Citizens could use some protection against his failed leadership and costly over runs. Encinitas is tired of the mayor and deputy mayor’s “shoddy work” rolling downhill onto us taxpayers.

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