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Council Votes 6-1 to Hire Cliff Gibson & Private Engineer – 6 Videos

October 15th, 2014 by






The Monticello City Council met in a specially called session Tuesday evening, to decide whether to hire an attorney, Mr. Cliff Gibson, to represent the City in their dealings with Siemens, Inc., the corporation contracted for $10 million to revamp Monticello’s water system, with his stipulation that a private engineer be employed to assist him.

The meeting opened with the mayor and seven members of the Council present. Dr. Tim Chase was out of state, attending a professional convention. The first matter of business was a request by Joe Meeks to postpone the meeting, to be rescheduled at a time when all members could be in attendance. Claudia Hartness also expressed concerns over inability to clearly understand the contents of the letter/contract submitted by Gibson to retain him as legal counsel for the City in this matter. The motion to postpone the meeting was defeated by a vote of 4-3.

One condition Gibson set forth as a term of his accepting the job to serve as legal counsel for the City would be that the City hire an engineer to review and oversee the performance of Siemens, Inc. in fulfilling their duties as described in the contract.

A discussion about the need to hire an engineer ensued. It was the opinion of some council members that the City had already hired an engineer when they contracted with Siemens, and that a second engineer would only complicate the situation. Other members held the opinion that the Siemens engineer had strong ties to Siemens, and that an independent engineer, working solely to reflect the best interests of the City, should be hired. The engineering firm ETC was mentioned as one option. Claudia Hartness strongly objected to ETC being retained to represent the City, based on their alleged poor performance with the construction of the splash pad at Jordan Park, and subsequent problems that developed with its operation. Al Peer expressed that he was unaware or unable to recall any problems with the construction and later problems with the splash pad at Jordan Park. Hartness was concerned that an efficient and effective engineer be hired. They were assured that selecting an engineer to represent the City would be done only with the approval of the Council.

Mr. Gibson addressed the Council, and expressed his concerns that the engineer working for Siemens has divided loyalties. Gibson expressed grave concerns about Siemens’ requests for payment of millions of dollars from the City before the work has been completed. He also stated that after reviewing the payment requests, he found no evidence of Siemens’ engineer signing off on anything. There is no signature, that he can find, verifying that the work has been done or that the materials have been delivered. He also stated he has serious concerns that his preliminary research revealed Siemens did not meet the contract requirements set forth by the Arkansas Attorney General regarding financial solvency and performance guarantee issues. Mr. Gibson also pointed out that the company the City of Monticello has entered into contract with is Siemens Industries, Inc. They are a Delaware corporation. They are not, he emphasized, the big German conglomerate, Siemens AG. He expressed great concern that they have done nothing to show that they are a financially viable company. It also greatly concerned him that they required $7 million payment at the beginning of the project, and have requested almost another half a million dollars payment, when they have only performed about $2 million dollars’ worth of work.

Mr. Gibson stated that he feels an independent engineer is necessary. He said that if the Council cannot agree on an engineer, Mr. Gibson has a number of engineers he has used as expert witnesses, and can recommend someone.

Mr. Gibson also stated that he is not recommending litigation at this time, and it is his hope that litigation will not be necessary. His goal is to determine the truth and facts of the matter. To that end, he will be doing extensive research, as well as interviewing Zack Tucker and others. The Council was assured that they will be advised of everything that is going on, that they will receive reports, and that they will have the final say before any actions are taken.

Mr. Gibson will only be representing the City in the matter of resolving the Siemens contract and performance issues. Mr. Whit Barton will continue to serve as the City Attorney in all of the City’s other legal matters.

Hartness reminded Gibson that the mayor and four members were in favor of hiring him, and that four Council members are opposed to him being retained as legal counsel for the City. She then expressed concern that the City of Monticello were not cooperating with Siemens. Beverly Hudson thes expressed concern that Mr. Ardillo of Siemens was not cooperating and present for City meetings.

The Council voted 6-1 to hire Mr. Gibson to represent the City.in investigating Siemens’ contract and performance.

Choose another article

Newer article: Lost Pet near 35 East

Older article: Gibson’s Letter to City about Siemens Contract Fiasco

6 Responses to “Council Votes 6-1 to Hire Cliff Gibson & Private Engineer – 6 Videos”

  1. NAN CARTER says:

    THERE’S ALOT OF US THAT GOT OUR WATER BILLS SO LATE, THAT WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY IT! OUR BILL WAS ALOT MORE THAN USUAL AND I’M SURE THAT WE’RE NOT THE ONLY ONES THAT HAD THIS PROBLEM! I WISH THAT THEY’D GET THE WATER BILLS OUT ON THE FIRST OF EACH MONTH SO WE WOULDN’T BE FACED WITH THIS PROBLEM!!!

  2. Alan D says:

    one question, who ws the one person who voted against since the vote was 6-1? you didn’t say.
    Answer: Claudia Hartness

  3. Dennis says:

    All I know about this is what I read on here and it seems the city wants the water meters in the contract. This type of meter requires a worker to physically go to each meter to get a reading electronically.

    While Siemens installed water meters that send the reading digitally to a computer at the office that generates the bill.

    Sounds like an upgrade to me. Whats all the fuss? Now they are hiring a lawyer and a engineer to legally force Siemens to do what?

  4. Des says:

    The problem Dennis is that the meters are still not working! They estimated this months bills. Siemens is saying there’s a software issue
    But they have yet to fix it this has been going on for months.

  5. me says:

    I know it a mess, my grandson had a water bill $66, all he does is take a bath, don’t drink the water! his bill had been around $34 every month! it make it hard for a kid to get up $66, it a mess!!!!!!

  6. Thomas "Sonny" Thornhill says:

    The issue Dennis, and I do not know if you are a citizen of Monticello or not, but the citizen are not watching what the Council is doing. And what the what some of the Council is doing makes no sense.

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