Monday, February 10, 2014

More on The McLellan, as promised



Thanks to our helpful Town Clerk, Fran Smith, we have, for your reading pleasure, the inspection documents relating to the exchange of Longfellow School and The McLellan.  We referred to the subject in this post, and cited this passage from the exchange agreement:

The Town's inspection of the McLellan Property is currently in process. The Town shall provide Bowdoin with a copy of the inspection report but Bowdoin shall not be required to make any repairs or improvements that may be recommended thereby.

The interesting facts about the inspections are these:

The mechanical inspection is dated September 2010.

You’ll find it here.  As we recall, the exchange agreement infers that the only thing Bowdoin pays for the ten years they have use of the third floor is their janitorial service.  You might get a sense from this report that the heating bill, including ‘resistance heating,’ could be a sizable operating cost for the building, but just for the town, not the college.

The structural inspection letter is dated September 24, 2011, and is addressed to PDT architects, who designed HBS school, and are the go to architects for the School Department.

You’ll find it here.

The RRC field report is dated September 2010, and includes mention of exterior deterioration.

You’ll find it here, and it says this:

Exterior finish materials are painted/stained wood clapboards, wood shakes, plywood flat trim and solid wd sills. Paint on wood window sills, primarily on the first floor, has weathered away leaving exposed wood. This is probably a result of water dropping from the roof above. These sills will require ongoing maintenance and repair. There is some softness due to water infiltration in flat trim at other locations on all levels that may require replacing or revising metal flashings and replacement of flat wood trim, but there does not appear areas of profound damage. Selecting demolition is required to confirm the extent of possible water infiltration and damage to exterior walls at these locations.

(Keep in mind this is as of September 2010!  Clearly there are now signs of likely profound damage.  We have moved way, way beyond ‘some softness.’)

Given that the Exchange Agreement is dated September 30, 2011, and was signed on October 4, 2011,  it’s pretty clear that the Town’s inspection was not in process when the agreement was signed.

Furthermore, it is clear that the professional inspection discussing, among other things, the exterior paint failure and soft spots in the trim was completed a year before the agreement was signed.  We don’t know what was done with this document.  But we can pretty clearly say this: Bowdoin College could easily have been informed of the condition well before the exchange, so they could have taken SOME steps to stop it before it got worse.

And the town could have taken some action to factor this condition into the exchange deliberations, if not suggest that good faith on the part of Bowdoin would require them to do something to address the problem.

Simply put, this appears to be another arch-example of moral hazard, about which we just wrote, on the part of the college, and the town.  Due negligence in caring for their assets, and due negligence in the town’s handling of the exchange.


At the very least, there is no excuse for Mr. Manager’s inept estimating process, from inception to the current $1 million plus, plus, plus unknown level, to have not included dealing with this problem.  We have clear evidence that the early stages of the damage were readily apparent, including softening of the wood trim, almost three and a half years ago.

Did Mr. Manager have these documents?  If not, how would he explain that?  If he had them, why weren’t they a part of the building exchange deliberations and the estimating process?  Were they being hidden from public view?  Was he ordered to hide them from public view?

We also need to ask about the building committee drawn from the town council.  It had been Knight, Watson, and Favreau until the recent election, and is now Perreault, Watson, and Favreau.

Funny; didn’t we just read about Watson and Favreau somewhere else?

That aside, did this committee, in any of it’s formulations, have access to these inspection reports?  If so, why didn’t they take any action about the damage which has now become abundantly clear?  And if they didn’t have the documents, who kept them from these councilors?

Sad to say, but it looks like due negligence is the order of the day in this town.  TRS (Times Record Syndrome) appears to be far more virulent and endemic than we had feared.

And moral hazards are everywhere, though they don’t wear orange vests, or have striping painted on them so you slow down before driving over them.  They just show up around budget time, and demand tribute from you to make them all better.

New directions?   To borrow a recent sentiment:


But someone might want to light the community grill, because it looks like there is an oversupply of sausages to cook up:


We’ll close with one more cheery thought.  As part of Mr. M’s  separation agreement, the town agrees only to make statements that ‘reflect positively on his employment with the town.’  We didn’t sign that agreement, obviously.

Just remember this SOP in such matters when it comes to hearing about the excellent new candidates whose resumes have been received.

We wonder whether what we need more than consultants in this search is some private investigations to get to the truth on selected candidates.  Because we sure ain’t gonna find it in  any public documents.  Or in the ‘conventional, mainstream’ media.

Does anyone know if Joe Friday is available?

No comments:

Post a Comment