Cost History Summary: $75,000 to $100,000 to $319,228 to $356,000 to $281,000 to $306,221
- May 2013 finalized 2014 Budget projected a total cost not to exceed $75,000
- 2013 CIP Projected $100,000 and included renovation of 100% of the interior and exterior (final project included less than half of the interior)
- June 2014 printed ledger puts total final cost to date at $319,228
- Per an employee who last viewed the ledger with the employee who controls P.O.’s., she showed a total cost of $356,000
- March 2015 Watson claims total final cost of $281,000 – nearly $40,000 less than what the employee who printed off the ledger document claimed
- February 2016 – open records response for timesheets and invoices affiliated with the project indicate that Temporary Labor hours billed and paid to Alternative Solutions total 3,044 whereas the city manager’s documentation suggests that only 1,307 hours were billed. The difference represents $25,221 which may or may not bring the total project up to $306,221 assuming the city manager’s claimed total is correct.
May 28, 2013 City Council finalizes 2014 Final Budget (originated with/approved by Watson) projects constructing the restrooms using some or all of the Waterfront Improvements line item which is budgeted at no more than $75,000. No other area of the budget is referenced as a funding source for this project.
November 4, 2013: Project commences: first employee hours are logged associated with the project.
December 2013: 2015-2020 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) is transmitted to City Council
December 2013 after approval by Watson. It states that the installation of restrooms, changing areas and other areas is projected to cost $100,000. The source of this estimate is not provided but likely originated with Public Works staff and/or an engineering firm to whom we paid $10,000 - $30,000. If provided by Public Works, it was woefully underestimated given that it was this department who Watson claimed did the actual work. Complete file located here: http://www.oakridgetn.gov/images/uploads/Documents/Departments/CommDev/Planning%20files/CIP/CIP2015-2020.pdf
June 2, 2014 Watson reveals 2015 Budget which would, in final format, confirm completion of the project
June 27, 2014 Project completed as indicated by final timesheet affiliated with project.
June 30, 2014: 10-15 employees at the Central Services Complex for a farewell discuss the Marina Bathroom project and argue about whether or not it cost $250,000 to complete. They approach the employee who controls P.O.s who tells them it actually cost over $300,000 and produces a ledger document from the accounting software which shows a total cost of $319,228
November 26, 2014: An employee who participated in the June 30th discussion anonymously emails city council and the press claiming that the project was original supposed to cost $12,000 but ended up costing over $300,000.
December 3, 2014 Councilwoman Baughn inquires of Watson to provide “all documentation affiliated with this project including, but not limited to, all invoices and accounting of employee and/or contractor time” – she receives no response.
January 8, 2015 Baughn inquires again of Watson – receives no response.
February 9, 2015 Citizen Jeff Collin addresses full council at their regular meeting and brings up the issue of the costs of this project and the reprimand suffered by the individual who originally sent council the email. Mr. Collins requests the termination of Watson and restoration of the individual’s pay and good standing. Councilwoman Baughn again asks for documentation of Watson who responds by saying it will require “significant work” to produce. See minute 7:36 of the video at http://www.oakridgetn.gov/videojs/JSCouncilMeeting02092015.htm
March 23, 2015 The Oak Ridger runs an article on the subject . The finance director is quoted as saying the cost of the project was $281,000. She refutes the claim that it was originally projected to cost $12,000 but stops short of saying how much it was supposed to cost instead referring to the $75,000 budgeted for the general area. Watson again says that to produce a detailed report will “take some time.” Sources of funding included TVA. Watson redirects the issue by blaming the employee who originally brought the issue to light.
June 15, 2015 Over six months after is initially requested, Watson provides a printed email explanation of the cost breakdown to council. His employee, Pat Fallon, who oversees all construction projects and whose wife Susan Fallon oversees the finances and bid process affiliated with those contracts/projects, produced the document and says it took him two hours to produce and that he did it “off duty.” Total cost: $281,000. Three line items come very close to the $25,000 threshold requiring a bid process and the budgeted amount is listed as $75,000.
September 14, 2015: Garcia Garland addresses council during public forum, Baughn asks Watson again for invoices; he indicates that he will not provide them unless the rest of council approves her the request; Baughn urges Garcia Garland to file her request
September 15, 2015: Garcia Garland files initial open records request
October 12, 2015: Watson brings auditors Coulter & Justice to city council meeting. They offer to address concerns, but council votes 6-1 to end discussion on the matter.
November 11, 2015: Garcia Garland receives some files, finds them lacking and submits a follow up
February 2016: City provides tetra tech plans, but nothing more
April 11, 2016: Garcia Garland addresses city council during their meeting. Questions if it is appropriate for city to ignore state law and city ordinances. Offered to provide documentation regarding her concerns and research of project. Mayor Gooch asked that she provide a copy to the city clerk. Garcia Garland later verified that all members of council received complete copies.
June 6, 2016: Garcia Garland makes a final public appeal during a city council meeting requesting their response to the information packet she presented to them during the…..meeting. No council member spoke other than Baughn who went on record as having attempted to address the issue in the past.