Ford City fires engineer, picks new firm for water plant work
Ford City Council fired the borough engineer on Monday after a closed-door discussion and voted to hire a new engineering firm to oversee construction of the water plant.
In each instance, the vote was unanimous, with all five council members present voting to fire Jim Garvin and to hire Gibson-Thomas Engineering of Latrobe, pending the solicitor's review of the company's proposal.
The engineering contract with Gibson-Thomas would not involve any borough projects other than the water plant.
Council also voted 5-0 to seek a new borough engineer. Councilman Scott Gaiser was absent.
Garvin arrived late to the meeting, before council's private executive session, using crutches because of a knee injury. He appeared visibly upset as he handed council copies of the water plant permit application he said had been delivered to the Department of Environmental Protection that day.
He told council he had intended to deliver the application last Friday, but a car accident on the way to Pittsburgh delayed his arrival.
He indicated that he knew of council's plan to fire him and said he had been aware that several engineering firms had been consulted.
“I've already notified them that payment is an issue,” he said, referring to the fact that council owed him money for his services.
“I ask that I get paid for the work I've done, so I can pay my employees,” he said. “I've got three kids and four employees I have to take care of.”
“The finance committee is looking into it — it's been two weeks,” said Councilman Jerry Miklos.
Miklos added that Garvin should consider himself lucky because a former engineering firm had not been paid by the borough for work done about three years ago.
When Councilman Gene Banks asked how the payment due to Garvin could be resolved, the discussion escalated into a shouting match between Miklos and Garvin before the executive session was called.
A dozen or so residents stood outside the public library for nearly an hour while council deliberated in the library's children's reading section to determine Garvin's fate as borough engineer.
Garvin did not linger in the rain to hear the outcome.
Before he left, he said the borough owed him $10,000 for his work.
“They won't pay me and won't justify why they won't pay me,” he said.
“I hope they do fire me tonight because they are unprofessional. It's not worth the anxiety in my life. I don't even get paid to be here.”
After the meeting resumed and council voted to fire Garvin, Miklos said Gibson-Thomas was one of six firms contacted by council. The firm has been in communication with DEP, he said.
“They will get us in compliance,” said council President Kathy Bartuccio.
Councilman Josh Abernathy said that in addition to bringing the borough into compliance with DEP, Gibson-Thomas proposed to help council find grants to help fund the plant.
“We don't know what the total cost will be for the plant,” Abernathy said.
Garvin had estimated the construction costs would be about $2.2 million when council voted in March to move ahead and build. The vote was tied, 2-2, with Mayor Marc Mantini tipping the balance in favor of the new plant.
“A lot of us felt those costs weren't realistic,” Abernathy said on Monday.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Class of ‘74 returning for last dance at Kittanning High School
- New Armstrong Junior-Senior High facility to be shown off in August
- SummerFest kicks off in Ford City
- Rain washes out concert, not comeback for Kittanning bar band
- Armstrong fire departments sharpen river rescue skills
- Ford City targeting development of former industrial land
- Ford City High School first of 3 schools packing up for move
- Trailer fire puts Rayburn family out of home
- Sheriff starts fundraising to buy drug-sniffing K-9 officer for Armstrong