Paul Begley quits as project manager at new library

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Delays. Incompetence. Micromanagement. Contractors not receiving pay for services rendered. These are a few of the reasons Paul Begley gave for quitting as project manager at the new LaFollette library building.

As project manager, Begley has overseen the renovation of the new library.

“We would not be where we are at that library if it were not for Paul,” librarian Nancy Green said. “He has been fabulous.”

But during the final stages of the library’s renovation, mounting frustrations have cause Begley to quit. About a week and a half ago, Begley called interim city administrator Cade Sexton, and told him he would clear his belongings from the site by Saturday.

“I called him (Sexton) and told him I can’t take the B.S. any more,” Begley said. “He (Sexton) just (doesn’t) understand construction, and he has a personal vendetta against me for some reason. That’s why I quit.”

There were disagreements between Sexton and Begley about the way purchase orders were being handled, Sexton said. The city has a strict system for spending money, and it wasn’t being followed satisfactorily, so Sexton met with Begley to straighten the problems out, Sexton said. This caused a disagreement between Begley and Sexton and that is why Begley quit, Sexton said.

The city refused to pay the contractors hired to install cabinets, complete electrical work and work on the ceiling, Begley said.

“We had a break down in the system, and I was not satisfied with the way it was being done,” Sexton said. “People wanted their money before we were ready to release it.”

Tim Oris Woodworking completed work on cabinets. The city didn’t pay Tim Oris because knobs weren’t installed, Begley said. But customers, not contractors, are financially responsible for putting knobs on cabinets, Begley said.

The city owed $1,800 to Nelson Electrical, Begley said. Sexton said he would pay them when he was ready to, according to Begley. Nelson received this payment yesterday.

Begley also said Gibson Acoustical Ceiling had yet to be paid for work completed on the project.

DeWayne Gibson, owner of Gibson Acoustical Ceiling, turned his bill in on April 9, and was expecting payment yesterday, according to Gibson. Gibson had expecting payment on April 10, and Sexton told him he would be paid April 25, Gibson said.

“I’ve been in this business a long time,” Begley said. “They are working people, they need to be paid. Just because you have a personal feeling about something, you can’t hold people’s money back.”

Requisitions must be filled out before purchase orders and only then can items be purchased, Sexton said.

“We have a specific system,” Sexton said. “The system was not being followed in terms of purchase orders. I wanted the system followed.”

The system wasn’t being followed to Sexton’s satisfaction, he said. Some orders were arriving before the purchase orders, Sexton said.

Sexton wanted to micromanage the project, and not only did some contractors not receive their pay, but certain parts of the job were delayed, Begley said.

Begley filed a requisition to have different companies clean the library before carpet was laid, he said. One company had already stripped and waxed the vinyl floor for $300, Begley said. This same company wanted to clean the floor with a wet vac for $200. Another company offered to clean the windows, some of the doors and the librarian’s office for $150, Begley said. Begley also wanted to hire Steve Turner to work on the plumbing. Begley wanted to finish this all according to a schedule so that carpet could be installed by April 20.

“I put in requisitions to do that,” Begley said.

But Sexton decided he wanted to complete the work in house, Begley said. This changed the work schedule and the time for when the carpet could be laid, Begley said. The next available date was May 17, Begley said.

“I wanted to come out of this job having respect for Cade Sexton and Hansford Hatmaker,” Begley said. When he took the position, he knew Sexton and Hatmaker. “So far Mr. Hatmaker has done nothing out of the way.”

“I just wanted to get the job completed,” Sexton said. “It had gone on for a year…let’s get it done.”

Begley removed his tools from the building last Tuesday and Wednesday. He completed some detail work Monday. He hopes to be able finish some of the detail work.