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Arkwright highways head does project without board’s OK

A road upgrade for the Charlotte windmill project on Hall Road in Arkwright was a discussion topic at the Octover meeting of the Arkwright Town Board.

The project, which came in at a total cost of $45,500 was approved and completed, without the board’s knowledge, by Highway Superintendent James Ziemba.

“It was a complete surprise when I saw that bill,” Arkwright Board Member Roger Cardot shared with the OBSERVER after the meeting.

“Anything over $30,000 has to go to bid,” Cardot said. “We have to make sure the money is in escrow, so people get paid.”

At the meeting, Cardot shared that the board had not released any funds for this work.

“This is already done, that pipe is in,” Ziemba stated.

“The board has to release that, you have to come to us for approval,” Cardot argued. “That work can’t be performed until the board releases the funds.”

According to Ziemba’s understanding, the funds were clear from the wind farm, however officials told him they were not his funds to spend. Ziemba did receive two bids on the project, but none of these events were put before the board.

“I thought I was doing the right thing,” Ziemba said. “I just learned a hard lesson.”

Ziemba went on to share that he “was afraid they’re telling the new wind farm up there in Cassadaga, they wanted us to perform the work. We didn’t have the time. We didn’t have the funds in our account to buy the pipe or the time to actually do the work, so I said that we weren’t doing anything until they produced the funds. This was their idea to get a couple of bids on it and they would pick the contractor and then send us the money, put it in our account.”

“That’s not the way it works. There should have been three bids. We pick the contractor. That’s the same way it was handled with EDP, it’s the exact same system,” Cardot responded. “I just didn’t want to get stuck with putting money out there and then getting a bill and we’re not getting paid at all.”

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