County, Whayne reach agreement

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By John Overby

In a special-called meeting of the Washington County fiscal court, three Whayne Supply representatives were in attendance to explain what happened to drive up the cost of repairs to a county road grader that was discussed in the Sept. 11 issue of The Springfield Sun.

The representatives were District Sales Rep Jim Whitis, VP (Louisville) Branch Operations Manager David Cummins and Nicholas Hill, a service foreman at Whayne.

Cummins opened up the floor by confirming that he and Washington County Judge/Executive John Settles had been in contact earlier that week and that Whayne had agreed to accept the $20,000 payment that the court had proposed.

He then went on to say that there were two goals that the company hoped to accomplish at this particular fiscal court meeting: explain what happened and make sure the problem did not occur again.

As for the first issue, Cummins clarified that there was rust built up in the system from having water in it. Because of this, Whayne claims it was a maintenance issue, which wasn’t covered in the warranty.

Whitis then took the floor and presented a timeline to show that the problem was a recurring one since the county traded in their old 120G motor grader model for their current 120H one.

According to him, bids were taken in 2006, which is when Whayne quoted a 120H motor grader that met all of the written specs, specs that did not include an air dryer.

Whitis maintained that air dryers are not standard equipment but rather an option, which was a topic of discussion during Washington County’s last fiscal court meeting.

Whayne also issued a parts credit for $2,543 to be used at the court’s discretion.

The machine was delivered in August of 2006, and the first problem occurred in 2008.

Whayne came down and fixed the glitch, which was guaranteed under warranty.

On July 6 of 2009, the motor grader had another parking brake issue.

Whitis stated that Whayne employees found “a lot of water in the air tank,” which caused the rust buildup. They flushed the lines and put antifreeze in the system.

The bill came to $1,736. 84.

On July 21, Whayne met with the county to discuss that the problem wasn’t under warranty because it was not a mechanical issue but rather due to rust buildup in the air system, which allowed water to accumulate in the brake system.

Whayne offered a 50 percent credit on that bill, which cut it to approximately $868.

At this time, they also offered to put an air dryer on the grader with no labor costs.

“If Washington County bought the parts,” Whitis said, “Whayne would put them on to help solve the issue.”

On July 23, that offer was declined.

However, they did request someone from Whayne to come down and show the county employees how to do maintenance work on the machine.

The problem subsided for over three years, but on December 2012, there was another parking brake issue due to rust occurred with the system.

Whayne again came down and fixed it and also quoted installing an air dryer at that time.

That bill was $2,890.

Then, this past June, the current issue came about, which required a transmission rebuild.

“History shows we’ve had a reoccuring problem with rust in the system,” Whitis said. “We’ve helped with the repair bill—and appreciated the opportunity to do so—but the main thing is to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

“Our primary goal is to keep this from happening again,” Cummins reiterated. “It cost you guys money, it cost us money, so it’s in all of our best interests to make sure we do this.”

As part of the $20,000 agreement, Whayne will be putting an air dryer, a new tank, lines and valves on the machine, with the work getting done sometime by the middle of this week.

And to make sure it doesn’t happen again, Cummins stressed that even with an air dryer, the air tank and air dryer both have to be drained.

They have also offered to send a demo operator from Whayne that does training.

“We’d be glad to come down and work with the county, no charge whatsoever,” Cummins said. “We’ve been around 100 years and have a reputation of being an honest, ethical company that takes care of its customers. We’ve got a good relationship with Washington County, and we’d like to continue that in the future.”

Settles also hoped to move past the issue now that the money aspect had been agreed upon.

“We can rehash this over and over again, but we’ve agreed on a price,” Settles said. “There’s a lot of finger pointing that could go around, and there’s been a lot of aggravation on both sides. I think it’s best that we just move forward.”

Magistrate Hal B. Goode agreed.

“When you look back on the history that we’ve had together, our relationship has been a long and pleasant one. I hope we can just draw the line here and move on.”

Other notes:
The Walker Lane Bridge project opened up bids last week, but the court only received one proposal, a $147,380 offer from Hornback Construction.

Of that total, $90,862.60 was for cost of construction.
The committee suggested that the court approve the bid, which they did.

With acceptable weather, the estimated time for construction is two weeks.

Bids also opened up for the remounting of the box on the chassis of one of the county’s ambulances.

The county received three live bids, but the committee that oversaw the bids thought they were all “unacceptable.”

The committee recommended to the court that they open up bidding again because the prices were almost the same as what a new chassis and new box would cost.

The county approved this motion but with the stipulation that the bid packets be changed to include an option to bid for a new chassis and new box or bid for a new chassis but a remount of the old box.

Magistrate Benjamin Settles was not in attendance.

There will be a regular scheduled fiscal court meeting on Friday at 9 a.m. at the 1816 Courthouse building.