Forty-year-old cabinets have been a point of contention for the LaFollette City Council this month.
As the new library building was being renovated, former project manager Paul Begley tore the cabinets out. They had been part of the building since it was built in the 1970s, and weren’t in good shape, Begley said.
Council member Hansford Hatmaker also felt the cabinets were in poor condition, and told Begley to dispose of them.
“If somebody loaded them up, I wouldn’t take them,” Hatmaker said.
“I was told to junk them, throw them away, get rid of them,” Begley said last Thursday.
Those working at the building took about three of the base cabinets to the dump with the garbage. Begley gave the big island cabinet, along with about eight cabinets to some unnamed families, and took one of them himself.
Council member Joe Bolinger brought up the cabinets at the city council meeting on April 3 as the council discussed items that would be auctioned as surplus. Bolinger felt procedure hadn’t been followed properly. The decision whether or not to dispose of city property needs to be decided by a majority vote on the council and not one member, Bollinger said.
When the surplus list was voted on at a special called meeting on April 17, Bolinger asked about the cabinets.
Hatmaker told Bolinger he had instructed Begley to get rid of them. Hatmaker asked Bolinger why he kept bringing the issue up.
“Because it’s taxpayer money,” Bolinger said. “Not any one of us sitting up here has the right to give property away.”
In the future, the council doesn’t need to throw anything away, but should declare it surplus, interim city administrator Cade Sexton said.
The next day, on April 18, interim city administrator Cade Sexton told Begley the council had discussed the cabinets again.
Begley collected the cabinets from the families he had given them to, and took them to the old East LaFollette Elementary School.
“They’ve got their cabinets back, and I hope they’re happy,” Begley said.
The cabinets are being stored at East LaFollette.