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Details over the new library divides LaFollette City Council at Workshop

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By CURRENT BOXHOLDER

At Tuesday night’s workshop, disagreements over the new library facility divided the LaFollette City Council.

Interim city administrator Cade Sexton presented a review before the council.

The carpet was installed at the library three weeks ago, the shelving was installed two weeks ago, the furniture was installed last week, and the sign was put up Friday.

Council member Wayne Kitts asked what remained to be finished.

“I don’t think we lack anything but the flagpoles and the decorating,” Sexton said.

Kitts asked about the handrails.

“The handrails is the main hang-up,” Sexton said.

Council member Hansford Hatmaker expressed there was more to be done at the library, including doors.

Sexton told Hatmaker to tell him what needs to be fixed, and he would fix it. Hatmaker said he and former project manager Paul Begley would take Sexton to the library and show him what needs to be done.

Begley , who was in charge of the project at the new library, quit after some disagreements with Sexton. Begley resigned from the project in late April.

“I quit because of micromanagement,” Begley said. Begley attended the workshop Tuesday night.

He brought Sexton a list of projects that remain unfinished at the new library. This list included bronze base trim in the front entry, grinding the bottom of the door in the front entry, adding soap dispensers, towel holders, paper holders, handicapped bars, kick plates and mirrors to the restrooms, installing back splash and caulk in the hot water heater room and installing a light switch cover in the computer room.

Two of the items involved painting: painting a doorjamb and repairing and painting walls as needed.

“Why should we go back and pay to repaint the walls when we paid somebody to pain the walls?” Mayor Mike Stanfield asked.

Council member Stephanie Grimm asked who the paint contractor was.

“Him and Paul had a deal worked out,” Hatmaker said. “Now that Paul’s left, we’re hung out.”

Kitts and Grimm pointed out they might need to get an electrician back to work on some of the items on Begley’s list.

“Never again do I want to get involved in something like this,” Sexton said. The next time Sexton faces a project such as this, he said he wants to bid it all out.

“Cade, we got (over 100) employees, surely we can finish that library,” Stanfield said.

“I’ll get this done, and do it in-house,” Sexton said.

Sexton believes he can complete everything in-house except for the electrical work.

“There’s always a few little things,” Sexton said after the meeting.

The council wouldn’t know what remains to be finished if Begley hadn’t written the list, Hatmaker said.

Hatmaker feels the library’s progress would have gone smoother if Begley would have stayed.

“If they hadn’t messed with their man up there, we’d have been in it last month,” Hatmaker said.

Hatmaker believes the project won’t be complete until July now.

“But, we’ve got a beautiful building,” Hatmaker said. “I’m glad to be part of it.”

The library will have a grand opening on July 25, and Sexton hopes to have a soft opening in late June.

LaFollette Public Library Director Nancy Green hopes to begin moving in two to three weeks. The library will have to close during the transfer.

“We will be closed possibly a week,” Green said.

This will allow time to move to the new location.

Green doesn’t want to begin moving until everything at the new location is ready.

“A lot of technical things to be done now,” Green said. “But it’s all coming together.”

“After 22 years of operating out of this little space, it will be (huge),” Green said. “We had an excellent project manager and an excellent architect who worked together to have the color schemes match (just perfectly).”

During the workshop, Hatmaker asked Begley if he ever got paid, and how much he was owed. Begley said he is owed $540.

“Unless I’m told by three or more people (council members) to pay it, I’m not going to pay it,” Sexton said.

The council will decide about paying Begley at the next meeting.