Archive for Friday, August 8, 2008

Protester takes stand in manhole

Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman, back to camera, listens to Bob Bigsby's complaints regarding the Sixth Street sewer project as Bigsby's niece Kalli Keen looks on Thursday morning. Bigsby spent an hour in a hole to protest the project and halt work until Dingman arrived.

Baldwin City Administrator Jeff Dingman, back to camera, listens to Bob Bigsby's complaints regarding the Sixth Street sewer project as Bigsby's niece Kalli Keen looks on Thursday morning. Bigsby spent an hour in a hole to protest the project and halt work until Dingman arrived.

August 8, 2008

Bob Bigsby's protest of the Sixth Street sewer project didn't last long Thursday, but he got his point across.

Bigsby, with his broken back and all, climbed into the hole in front of his Sixth Street home at 7 a.m. and didn't come out until City Administrator Jeff Dingman got there at 8 a.m. to talk to him.

It kept work crews from installing the concrete manhole for a while, but it didn't stop the project.

"Doesn't look like it," Bigsby said of stopping the project that is replacing the old sewer line to increase capacity. "I could have held it up longer if I'd have stayed in the hole longer."

The city had a meeting with homeowners along the stretch of Sixth Street south of High Street regarding the $245,000 sewer project that is being done ahead of the $1.1 million street replacement project. Homeowners were told what would be done and where.

Bigsby says he was lied to by Bill Winegar, public works director, at that meeting and two other times regarding his trees and where the manhole would be located.

"He took out my 100-year-old tree and a 30-year-old tree," said Bigsby. "My cooling bill has gone up 30 percent. The air conditioner can't keep up on hot days. He lied to me three different times."

That's not what Winegar recalls.

"I remember that conversation differently," said Winegar. "I told him we'd try to save the trees."

Dingman explained the problem.

"Bill told him we would re-evaluate the route of the line in order to save the trees," said Dingman. "The sewer line had to be 16 feet deep right there and going around the tree you would still have to dig that deep right next to it.

"It would severely undermine the tree, with the potential it could even fall over," he said. "We looked at boring underneath it, but it was not feasible to bore that deep to go under the tree due to the expense involved."

As for the manhole, Bigsby says he was told it would be north of his property, not in his driveway. When he got home Wednesday night and saw the hole, he was more than surprised.

"That's what got me mad," said Bigsby, who then came up with his protest plan. "Broken promises again. Winegar told me three different times that manhole would be north of me. I'm not too happy with the city right now."

Again, the city disagrees.

"It has been in the plans to be right there since the inception of the project," said Dingman. "That manhole is replacing a manhole that currently is in the middle of Sixth Street."

The new manhole is immediately east of the old one. The whole sewer line is being moved out of the street and into the right-of-way. The manhole will be in Bigsby's driveway, which isn't uncommon and will be flush with the surface and not an obstruction, said Dingman. Bigsby's getting a new concrete driveway - free of charge.

"Bill has not had a discussion with him about the placement of the manhole," he said. "Bills' recollection of any conversations with him had to do with the tree issue."

Comments

123456 6 years ago

Bill Wineger needs to take his crew on a field trip to the Quick Shop and see how they repair concrete and ask one of the workers what that machine is that jumps up and down and compacts dirt. The city probably has one somewhere but no one will run it because it requires a physical effort or it won't run because we dont have anyone to fix it.Look up compaction in the dictionary.Tink about t.

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123456 6 years ago

You are so right, lets see what kind of mess they leave down there when they are done. Captain Kirk

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Monkey 6 years ago

Oh, ya and Bill keep up the good work.

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ibelieveinmapleleaf 6 years ago

This is no surprise that yet another person encounters the horribly unprofessional behavior and professional misconduct of the Public Works Director. He holds title to this job solely because he was standing in line when the last one left. The man is completely untrained and unqualified for the job, and his lack of ethics show through on a daily basis. And what does the city administrator do? Just recommend him for a raise every year.

This city is dying.

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123456 6 years ago

When Bob came out of the man hole did he see his shadow and will there be six more weeks of summer? Captain Kirk

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Monkey 6 years ago

It is funny how you all are so quick to pass judgement. If you want to complain about the job Mr Winegar is doing then I suggest you fill out the application and be the next in line. I have never had a problem with him. He has been a great deal of help to me, and I am sure he will continue to be.

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TheOnlyGreyghost 6 years ago

It's impossible to know the truth in a "he said this," "no I didn't" situation such as this.

Paper (or email) trails prevent this sort of misunderstanding. After the discussion about what would be done on the property, if either party had sent an email to the other saying, "Dear Mr. XXXX: this is just to confirm that (such & such) will take place on the property, and that every effort will be made to save the 100-year-old and 30-year-old trees. However, there is no guarantee that the trees will be saved--the city reserves the right to remove them if their retention should prove hazardous after the the ground is excavated for the new sewer."

And so on--recapping each point of the conversation. At the end, the writer shoud invite the other person to confirm or correct any factual statements in a return email (or letter) and to say that both parties understand and agree with whatever agreements have been hammered out.

I learned to recap verbal discussions in writing a long time ago with clients, as it is so easy for two people to remember a conversation very differently.

Neither person is necessarily trying to pull a fast one over the other--it's just human nature to remember things differently, depending on what each person brought to the table, what his biases or motivations were, etc. I can't tell you how many times I've had someone say, "We agreed that blah blah blah...." and I was able to send them a copy of their own previous email to me, saying something entirely different. Get it in writing, folks!

Kudos to Mr. Bigsby for this most excellent display of civil disobedience to emphasize his point, though. HDT would be so proud of him!

If you get it in writing, you can go back and see whether someone actually went back on his word or simply remembered wrong.

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123456 6 years ago

I think of Bill everytime I drive down the street and hit a pot hole, why is it that about thirty days after they do a street repair a pot hole shows up. They can;t even put dirt back in a hole right.

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ibelieveinmapleleaf 6 years ago

Monkey - "It is funny how you all are so quick to pass judgement. If you want to complain about the job Mr Winegar is doing then I suggest you fill out the application and be the next in line"

Is there an opening for his job? I'll break out the illegal stash of fireworks and celebrate. Then I'll send my dog down there to apply for the position because he's at least as qualified as Mr. Winegar and he has a vested interest in leaving trees in place.

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123456 6 years ago

I don't want Bill's job, it'll put me in too high of a tax bracket.

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greyghost 6 years ago

A special thanks to "TheOnlyGreyghost" for her expertise on papertrailology.

Stay tuned next week for her "in-depth" commentary on how to fill a manhole.

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123456 6 years ago

We're not quick to pass judgement on Bill Winegar, this has been building up for years, him and the rest of then do what they want, when they want and don;t have to answer to anyone, it's time for a change, we're sick and tired of being sick and tired.

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ibelieveinmapleleaf 6 years ago

Don't believe me that Mr. Winegar is unscrupulous? Do you remember the time that he went to the County to try to influence them to rule against granting their approval of the hardware store turnout on 6th street? Luckily the hardware store folks got up to the County at 8AM or there wouldn't be a hardware store being built right now.

Bill Winegar had absolutely no authority to do what he did. He simply decided that he didn't want the new hardware store and by God he was going to kill the deal. Was he reprimanded by the city administrator for putting the city at risk for a lawsuit? Hell no. Instead, Dingman recommended him for a raise this year just like clockwork.

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oldman 6 years ago

Yes it time for Bill Winegar to go.

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p_zinzer 6 years ago

I don't know anything about his qualifications, but I'll say this. He is a very rude man. I saw him in City Hall one time and asked him a very simple question about a regulation. I got back a hateful look and a fistful of attitude from him. Apparently he does not believe that his position is such that he must interact with the public. I would certainly like to see him replaced.

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123456 6 years ago

What's the deal with the new house on 6th. street with half of it;s new driveway missing, did someone forget to tell the new owners that there would be a new sewer line going in and to wait awhile. Now they will have a two shaded drive way to match our checkerboard sidewalk down town. Since the city didn;t backfill the trench properly in about six months there will be a dip where the two slabs meet and there will be cracks. Check with Grey Ghost on how to put dirt back in a hole. Where was Bill Winwger? He was probably explining to Bob Bigsby what wasn't going to happen to his trees.. And the nightmare on sixth street continues. Over and out.

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conservative 6 years ago

Speaking about Quick Shop are they ever going to fix their parking lot...

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123456 6 years ago

They were still working on it at 8:oclock tonite,

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123456 6 years ago

Hang in there Bob there is a light at the end of the culvert,it might be Bill Wineger with a flash lite but you'll get something. We can't wait to see that new driveway, It wouldn;t surprise me if Better Homes and Driveway's come out anf a photo spread on it.

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