Councilors hurl illegality accusations at CM, mayor

By BARBARA GREEN
editor@bowienewsonline.com
Monday’s Bowie City Council lapsed into complete chaos as council members hurled accusations of illegalities and threatened to have each other removed from the meeting. It appeared to be a total downward spiral of city leadership.
This debacle of a meeting revolved around three topics: Remodeling of the new customer service center, denial of a councilor’s request to have an item on the agenda and changing the city attorney.
Illegal remodel
City Manager Bert Cunningham was asked about the final cost to remodel the new customer service center. He said it was $61,847.50, which was above the original bid of $49,985 because they ran into some unexpected problems including a small amount of asbestos abatement. He said it was not bid because they had a quote come in under the $50,000 limit.
Councilor Tami Buckmaster said once they surpassed that $50,000, work should have stopped and additional work be put out for bid.
Councilor Arlene Bishop then asked why they did not have an architect or engineer, which is required by state law if it is more than $50,000 and walls are moved.
Cunningham said they obtained three quotes for work and went with the lowest which was under $50,000, adding if anyone has ever remodeled they know there is always something unexpected. As for the architect, he said the wall was not load bearing and the roof is made of steel trusses, so they felt it was not necessary.
Buckmaster declared they have an illegal building asking Code Officer David Rainey if it is going to be closed down?
Rainey asked closed for what, and Mayor Gaylynn Burris asked if Buckmaster wanted to see it closed.
“I am just asking the question. I don’t know if we are subject to liability because we have people in that building. Should we get them out?” said Buckmaster.