Commissioner denies union roof inspector

John Stegeman, Sports Editor

May 11, 2013

Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The local unions have been critical of the project to install a new roof on the Scioto County Courthouse since it began and the scrutiny continues even after the project’s completion.

Fred Gee, Market Development Representative for the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, recently sent a letter to Mike Crabtree, Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners voicing some of his concerns.

“As you are aware we were disappointed with the commissioners decision to select an Indiana company to replace the existing roof on the jewel of our community, and equally concerned with the suspect bidding process,” Gee stated. “The circumstances surrounding the award of the roofing contract to Five Star Commercial Roofing of Hartford City, Indiana from this project are troublesome. It appeared suspicious to me and many others that O.R.C. (Ohio Revised Code) 307.86 (A)(1)-(2) was exercised thanks to a bid of $99,900. This allowed Scioto County to avoid bidding the project competitively, but just days later the contract was increased by $23,000.

Crabtree was critical of the letter responding, “When this (roof project) started we were going to replace the roof at a cost of $99,900. Nobody knew what was under that roof. It had two inches of stone on top of rubber, on top of insulation. Until the ballast was removed a couple of weeks later, they noticed that some of the insulation had deteriorated to point where it was like dirt. We were very disappointed when we had to spend an extra $23,000 (to replace the insulation). The reality was I had to go back to the finance commission and get that money approved, and it was not just days later.”

In February the commissioners entered into a contract for $99,990 with Five Star Commercial Roofing, to replace the existing roof of the courthouse.

In March, a change order on the project was approved by the commissioners that called for an additional $23,000 to be spent on the project to replace a layer of insulation between the roof and the concrete that had become damaged over the years.

On March 18 the offices of Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Matt McFarland’s offices became flooded as a result of a clogged downspout causing damage to most of his office.

As a result McFarland has moved out of the courthouse and into the courthouse annex across the street.

The county brought in Mike Asebrook of Asebrook & Co. Architects/Inspectors to examine the roof and make recommendations on how to prevent further flooding in the future.

A final inspection of the roof is expected to take place within a couple of weeks after it has cured for the necessary two months.

To help with the final inspection, Gee offered the services of Terry Phillips a professional roofer, free of charge.

“I believe having a skilled roofer that is a member of our community be a part of that inspection could help alleviate concerns of local residents. I hope you (Crabtree) take advantage of our offer. Please advise when we will be allowed to join the inspection of the Scioto County Courthouse Roofing Project,” Gee wrote.

Crabtree said he was not interested in having Phillips join the inspection process.

“Mike Asebrook is very competent. He’s been doing the permits and inspections for the state of Ohio for a long time on hundreds of projects. He’s very competent and he doesn’t need someone holding his hand.”

In response to the overall letter Crabtree said, “I don’t care what Fred Gee says. The reality is, we done what we had to do with the budget we had. To do anything less would have been irresponsible. His remarks, as far as I’m concerned are incompetent and ridiculous. We done what we had to do and we figured we were going to get by with spending less than $100,000. We discussed that with the prosecutor long before we done anything. He gave us his legal opinion and he said we could do this.”

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.