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Town officials lambast senior center contractor

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a new plan regarding the Senior Center that includes weekly meetings open to the public.
Mayor Kelly Wolfe received full support of a motion he put on the table.
The approved motion includes holding a mandatory weekly meeting with the contractor until the project is completed. The meeting will be advertised in the newspaper and open to any residents or members of the media who wish to attend. Pertinent minutes or information from the meetings, including construction schedules, will be published on the town’s website.
“As we are doing that, simultaneously instruct our staff, Mr. Browning, Mr. Wheeler, or whoever else need be, to pursue information needed in regard to how we would go about terminating the contract with Rainey Construction should their performance not improve to the satisfactory level,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe brought the motion forward due to the lack of progress he has seen for the Jonesborough Senior Center to date in spite of the favorable weather the area has received.
“I hear constantly when I’m out, whether it’s the grocery store, the bank or church, about folks watching the project, wondering about the project and questioning why the project isn’t moving forward,” he said.
Wolfe said he recently watched the roof being installed, partially removed, reinstalled and partially removed again before being reinstalled again.
“That is kind of a big red warning sign flashing right there when you see stuff like that going on,” he said. “The triple installation of the roof is yet one more example of what I see as problems (that) come from the performance of our general contractor.”
Building Inspector J.W. Greene said the Rainey Construction permit was issued on Oct. 31, 2013. The building permit was given on Jan. 2, 2014. He said in November of last year he was told there would be eight to 10 men working on the roof.
“So far, all I have seen out there is three to four men,” Greene said. “That is one of the problems that we have. They don’t have enough manpower to do the job in a timely fashion.”
He said another problem the contractor is facing is not having enough parts to finish the roof.
Greene also said there are issues with the brickwork on the back part of the building facing East Main Street.
He said one guy installed three sides and another crew installed the fourth side.
Greene said he blames the problems on the general contractor not being there watching the work being done.
“It could have been caught very quickly,” Greene said.
Wolfe said it seems like the town has had to babysit Rainey Construction throughout the entire process.
“That’s not J’s job to babysit this project,” he said. “He’s the inspector. He’s the man that tells you you have done a good job, or here is what you have to correct. It’s not his job to hold their hand and lead them through the process. We have a fundamentally wrong situation going on.”
Rainey Construction provided an updated project schedule, which includes a completion date of June 5 of this year.
Greene said by the way things are going right now, he does not see Rainey Construction hitting the completion date.
“The experience I have had is they work on one project at a time,” he said.
Alderman Chuck Vest said the June deadline did not sound realistic to him. He said he was concerned about Rainey Construction rushing and cutting corners to try to meet the deadline.
“We need to start thinking about who can finish that project,” Vest said.
Wolfe said he became involved in the process in November when the schedule showed Rainey Construction putting in the insulation and sheetrock before putting the roof on.
“Now we have been six months waiting on them to finish this roof, so they can start the insulation and sheetrock,” Wolfe said.
According to an email sent to Wolfe from Scott Rainey on Monday, “all remaining roofing components will be onsite this Friday. We will work this weekend and have the roof completed by Monday or Tuesday next week. We will be delivering drywall and insulation this week.”
Wolfe told the board that the issue is not funding the Senior Center, but strictly a performance issue of the general contractor.
“It looks to the general public that we as a board are failing them,” he said. “I assure you we are not.”
Wolfe quoted a saying his band director used to say “results and not excuses.”
“I think it’s time for us as a board to begin insisting on results, not excuses from Rainey Construction,” he said.