Contractor requests payment for questionable work
Oct 18, 2012, 16:48
Representatives of Metro Ball Building Services, including an attorney, approached the Stone County Board of Supervisors Monday to request payment of invoices the county said it never received.
Metro Ball had held a preventive maintenance contract between 2008 and 2011 to maintain HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment at the county courthouse.
Air conditioning in the courthouse, or lack thereof in some areas of the building, has been a sore point for judges, juries and county employees for some time.
Rick White of Metro Ball told the board his company had submitted invoices totaling more than $2,500 and then received a termination notice from the county.
"The termination letter referred back to a termination effective in July which would have been a retroactive cancellation of services," he said. "I submitted an invoice for $1,273.75 in May 2011 and another in August 2011 and neither of these invoices were paid.
"I made some effort to collect on these invoices and we are here today to try to reconcile this."
Chancery Clerk Gerald Bond said he had researched the issue.
"I looked into it and those two invoices were never received," he said. "We've done business over the years and I believe we've paid you nearly $60,000.
"When we've received an invoice, we've paid it."
Bond said not only were there no invoices, but there was no signature by a county employee verifying the work had been done.
Another representative of Metro Ball said there had been a problem with some employees and they were no longer with the company.
He said he had instructed technicians to make sure a county employee had verified work performed, but they hadn't always followed that policy.
"What I'm saying is, we had no requisition and we had no invoice," Bond said. "The money we've spent on this system and it's never worked; we've spent three times what it would have cost to replace the whole system."
White said he'd had word things weren't working until he received the termination-of-services letter Dec. 29, 2011.
There were also questions regarding work performed to repair a communication loop which had been cut, although by whom, no one seemed to know.
Board attorney Scott Gibson thanked the Metro Ball representatives for coming and said the board would have to make a decision, but that the decision would not be made Monday.
White then asked of the board, "Are those bills for preventive maintenance legitimate?"
Gibson quickly put a stop to that discussion.
"I'm not going to allow this board to sit here and negotiate this matter," he said.
White said the two invoices in question had been submitted before the termination of services letter was received by his company.
"All I can do, Mr. White, is have the board take this under advisement and we can't make a decision today," Gibson said.
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