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Dolphin to Repair Monroe Town Hall's Roof

The Town Council unanimously approved a $344,674 contract during a special meeting Thursday night.

Dolphin Construction workers painted the white trim of the Monroe Town Hall roof and a new coat of gold paint on the cupola gleamed in the bright Friday afternoon sun. On Thursday night, the Town Council had unanimously approved a $344,674 contract with the company to repair the roof.

Dolphin is already the contractor for the police station building project, which includes a renovation and two small additions to the back of Town Hall. The roofs of the additions must be connected to the leaky old roof of the existing building.

Town Attorney John Fracassini, who negotiated the contract, told the council at its special meeting, "I would recommend its acceptance."

The $344,674 for asbestos abatement and replacement of roof shingles of town hall will be funded by the $390,000 bond authorization approved by voters at a Town Meeting in October. The remaining $45,326 will be set aside as a contingency for any unforeseen expenses.

The project will be overseen by the Town Council's Committee on Planning & Zoning, Public Works and Parks & Recreation Matters, which includes council members Tony Unger, Frank Lieto and Nick Kapoor.

Prior to approving the contract, council members debated whether to add in $13,750 for new copper rain leaders.

Anthony Vigilotti, senior project manager for Dolphin, attended the meeting and told the council the existing rain leaders are still functional and estimated they could last anywhere from seven to 15 years. He said new ones would have a warranty of at least 20 to 25 years.

"So it would behoove us to add in the alternates?" Debra Dutches asked fellow council members as most seemed to agree.

Unger said fixing the roof "piecemeal is crazy. I say we do the whole thing."

Kapoor agreed that the work should be done, but expressed concern over what would happen if the council approved the alternate only to wind up eating into the contingency after finding other problems when the shingles are pulled up.

The rest of the council agreed it would be best not to risk bumping up against the $390,000 approved for the work.

Though Unger voted in favor of the contract without the alternate for the rain leaders, he said, "I've been in favor of this roof since 2008. What I'm not in favor of is the piecemealing, including the air handlers on the roof."

Work Started Early

While Kapoor acknowledged the work needed to be done, he noted how Dolphin had already made repairs to the cupola before the Town Council approved the contract for the job.

Kapoor, who is also the Democratic Town Committee chairman, said his concerns were directed at First Selectman Steve Vavrek and not the contractor. Vavrek is a Republican.

"As a Town Council, we have an approval procedure," Kapoor said. "This is the third time in five or six months — the food vendor at Wolfe Park and the Town Meeting — where work started before our approval. Our rules and procedures outlined in the Town Charter are constantly being skirted."

Vavrek was not at the meeting, but on Friday he responded to Kapoor's criticism.

"If it wasn't done before the hurricane, half the building would have been flooded out," Vavrek said. "They asked me if I would authorize it and I did or we would have had worse damage. It was forward thinking."

In response to the complaint over the food vendor contract, Vavrek said it was something that had never been brought before the Town Council before, adding he only did so as a courtesy.

Vigilotti said Dolphin went ahead with the work on the cupola because much of the existing wood surfaces were rotting and deteriorating. In anticipation of Hurricane Sandy and with colder weather fast approaching, he said it was in the best interests of the town for the problems to be fixed.

If the Town Council decided not to approve the contract with Dolphin, the contractor would not have been paid for the work.

"I would have been grossly negligent if I would not have repaired that wood, knowing it could be a potential problem for town hall," Vigilotti said.

jim laguardia November 04, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Good for Steve vavrek for skirting the protocols and doing what was right by the town for the roof, sometimes right is right and that seemed right
Cara J. Kramer November 04, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Oh please. He says it was "forward thinking" but if he were actually that, he would have brought this before town council a long time ago. He really doesn't have any respect for this Council, as far as I can tell. He is never prepared for the meetings and he basically does whatever he wants.
jim laguardia November 04, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Whatever... It needed to be fixed before the storm. So it was fixed, there are exceptions to every rule, the problem is when the exception becomes the rule.
Mitch Beck November 04, 2012 at 08:10 PM
After reading this post and the comment by Cara J. Kramer that followed, it led me to one thought: Is anyone in this town ever happy? I mean, god forbid someone should actually be "grateful" for ANYTHING done in this town - EVER! Mr. Kampoor and the Democrats in this town are so desperate to try and score some sort of political point, they'll fight and complain about anything! Who do you think would have been the first to complain had Steve Vavrek NOT taken these preemtive measures and something HAD happened? Mr. Kampoor - learn to pick your battles. I admit, there have been times when things were done here that have left me scratching my head too, but my own experience has taught me that you can't go to war over EVERYTHING! Certain things are just common sense and that's what the First Selectman did here. Jim Laguardia and I agree about as often as Haley's Comet passes by, but here he is 100% in the right on both of his comments... I would add just a single caveat and that's to say Steve Vavrek did what leaders we elect are SUPPOSED to do. They are entrusted with the authority to make decisions just like this one. That's what they're paid to do. So even if you're the most ardent Democrat, or in my case Republican, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Nobody is wrong 100% of the time. Again, just say thank you that this was done and a possible bigger problem was prevented!
Herman M November 05, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Cara is right on this one. Vavrek is never prepared for meetings. All people in town should witness his dodging and bobbling of questions. It is embarrassing to watch. Sometimes you have to feel sorry for him since he is obviously way in over his head. I think Vavrek feels more comfortable making decisions in a vacuum and not having to answer to anyone.
Steve Kirsch November 05, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Mitch, did you forget about the complaints by Mr. Unger, a Republican? He has also been very critical of how Mr. Vavrek is doing things. Maybe you should be fair and point out the members of both parties have been very critical of how the First Selectman has handled any number of issues facing this town.
Mitch Beck November 05, 2012 at 07:30 AM
Mr. Kirsch... There is a difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable. You of all people should know that...
Steve Kirsch November 05, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Jim, when I read this article I had the same thought at first that you did. After all, the Town Council recommended the bonding and the citizens approved it, so it was clearly going to get done. However, upon a little reflection, I realized that this is just another example of the failure to plan as well as a failure of leadership by our First Selectman and it follows an all too familiar pattern. First, just as with the police department renovation, he sat on the project until the bonding had to go though at the last possible point in time to make a known deadline. As was pointed out by Councilman Unger the issue of a new roof has been talked about for at least five years. The plan and costs were promised back in 2011. There was no need to find ourselves in a position where the First Selectman had to act outside of the normal process. Second, the funding requested appears to be incomplete. Why did the funding not include the cost of all parts of the gutter system? This is similar to the issue with the police department renovation in which the plans were never taken to P&Z so now we have additional requirements for which there was no planned funding. (end part 1)
Steve Kirsch November 05, 2012 at 08:26 AM
(part 2 of 2) Third, as noted in the article, the roof is just one part of the building and grounds that need attention. Mr. Vavrek has yet to provide any complete document describing all of the needs for the building, the mechanical systems, the grounds (including the parking areas), and those items or issues identified by the P&Z commission. It has been more than a year since we approved the police department renovation. What is Mr. Vavrek waiting for? Also, this current year budget has money for an outside consultant to study all town buildings, but nothing has been done to start this project. Lastly, I would point out that Mr. Vavrek had no problem in not following the process in this case, but in the recent situation involving the repaving of a section of Garder Rd, he said that he could not go against the rules of the town. After authorizing the start of construction for what he identified was a safety issue and after spending money and doing construction, he decided to halt the construction at the final phase. I find it interesting that he gets to pick and choose what processes he wants to follow. I’m glad the roof is being done, but I still don’t understand why the First Selectman can not present a complete plan for the building so that we can avoid these types of issues.
jim laguardia November 05, 2012 at 01:44 PM
wow I REALLY HATE TO SAY THIS... Mitch Beck is right, some people are impossible to please. He made a decision to repair the copula a week or so before the final cantract was approved because a storm was coming.... I am not saying he has done anything else right just that one thing and you can not even give him credit for that. I think if he saved a kid from a burning house some how people would still find a way to complain.
Voice of Reason November 05, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Three days after one of the worst storms to hit our area, when some Monroe families lost their homes due to fallen trees, half of Monroe was still out of power, most of Stevenson could not get out of their own streets, and a fireman got killed in the next town over, Mr. Kapoor is still complaining about the Wolfe Park concession stand contract and repairs made to the cupola? Give me a break. How about our R and D elected officials focus their efforts on improving communications with CL&P and working with the tree warden to take down more trees before the next storm hits!
Mitch Beck November 05, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Jim... There just might be hope for this world yet...I mean think about it. We're about as polar opposite as you can get on virtually everything and we can both find common ground even on the rare occasion like this. Listen, I know I van be a sarcastic SOB at times, 25 years of making a living as a comedian will do that, but I mean this when I write it, we should ALL work on listening to each other's opinions and thoughts rather than just lashing out because there's a D or an R with their political affiliation. I have worked VERY hard the last couple of years of toning down the nastiness and rancor and keeping to the facts. I'm not fully yet where I want to be, but I'm working at it. I think we should ALL do that and then watch how we move our nation forward. In the meantime, let's enjoy this wonderful moment of commonality... :)
Mitch Beck November 05, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Mr. Kirsh... Can you please tell me which stocks I should buy with 100% certainty of their success and when they wil lgo down so I know in advance? That's what you expect of Steve Vavrek and quite frankly everyone that doesn't have a D following their name in government. Let's also bear in mind that Steve Vavrek is not Mitt Romney or Barack Obama or even Michael Bloomberg. This is a small town and we are a town of MOSTLY volunteers coming from a diverse background. We are NEVER going to have say the former CEO of IBM as First Selectman. To expect some of this stuff that you're expecting is just flat out unfair...And by the way, I would say that regardless of who the FS was. While many don't like Andy Nunn, he treated me personally VERY well and was exceptionally fair with me when I had some issues that needed settling with the town. I also got along well with Tom Buzzi in the interactions that I had with him. I think I keep my expectations of ANY of our FS in a realistic perspective. Am I exptra protective, for lack of a better word, for Steve? Probably. But again, he and I have disagreed on things and we talk them out. Same as I did with Mr. Nunn and Mr. Buzzi. What I object to in this case and everything else in terms of this town's politics is arguing for argument's sake. Some things are just common sense and a simple, "Thank you," would sure go a long way in easing tensions in Monroe.
Cara J. Kramer November 05, 2012 at 07:57 PM
I'm sorry, I was not trying to make this political. However, as an observer, I have seen quite a few things done without regard to the rules since Mr. Vavrek took over. While yes, this one instance seems to be a good choice as far as fixing the cupola - there have been town employees hired before their positions and job descriptions were even approved by town council. There have been consistent requests by the Board of Finance and Town Council members (not just D's) for more information on the excessive spending on legal fees - and these requests were not addressed by Vavrek for MONTHS. I also observed our previous first selectmen and their dealings with the boards, council and commissions that were and are all dominated by R's - and they would NEVER have let the Democratic first selectmen get away with so many violations of proper procedure and following the town charter. I think there are current R's on the Town Council who have had enough too at this point. You can all boast about your bipartisanship (Mr. Beck) but that's just fallacy. I do believe Mr. Laguardia bases his opinions on his instincts and true feelings without regard to the political party. And I think Mr. Kapoor & Mr. Kirsch would just like to see an even playing field - same rules for all parties - just as I would.
Christine E. November 05, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Had the hurricane hit without proper precautions being taken, the Town Council would be accusing Steve Vavrek of not preparing, and the townspeople would be up in arms about the additional expense of fixing a damaged building. It's a lose-lose.

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