Contractor agrees to correct problems at Hynes Center

Following a Tuesday morning walk-through of the Chester Hynes Community Center, painting contractor Keith Ross agreed to take corrective action on “problems” pointed out by Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Department Director Angela Parker in regard to recent work he performed at the facility.

During a meeting of the parks and recreation commission’s personnel committee last week, Parker had 100 items on a list of what she deemed as unfinished or improperly-done painting tasks under Ross’ charge. Parker’s list employed assorted descriptions of Ross’ work, including “terrible,” “crappy” and “horrible.” She charged that much of the applied paint was so thin that it had already started flaking away.

She denied being “knit-picky” in her findings, and Ross told her he had done some work “beyond the scope of my request.”

Parker, who said she’s a steward of the public’s tax dollars, told the committee that Ross was said to be a professional contractor, the department paid for professional work and Ross should be held accountable. The work was performed over the past several months.

Ross stressed a willingness to “make certain all of my customers are pleased.”

Before Tuesday, he had not toured the facility with commissioners.

Meanwhile, Parker said at a Tuesday afternoon commission meeting that she remains firm in her opinion that Ross, who has turned in change orders with which he’s requesting additional compensation, cannot be paid more than an adjusted $20,000 fee to which he had already agreed.

But Community Development Department Public Works Coordinator Larry Matthews differs, saying Ross is eligible for more monies. Parker said she was advised of Ross’ compensation limit by state labor officials.

Parker told commissioners that Ross would begin “making corrections” Monday.

Also during the commission meeting, Parker reported that the panel’s Townsend Park committee last week determined an initial phase of a development project for the park. The first phase will be inclusive of construction of both a 60’x100’ pavilion and a concession/restroom/storage facility, dirt work, sewer and electrical improvements, acquisition of new playground equipment, parking lot paving and making all playground equipment handicapped-accessible.

Parker told commissioners that she appeared before the city council’s public works committee earlier in the day to present plans for proposed activities at the Hynes center. Parker said the activities are to be financed with monies generated by the city’s voter-approved bond issue, but Ted Davis – an aide to Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. – said the funding issue “hasn’t been decided yet.”

“The administration has several concerns with this proposal,” said Davis, who added that he wants the full commission to “review and approve” the proposal “before going to the council for its approval.”

The commission gave a unanimous nod to a motion to waive $3,600 in rental fees over the next year for Jaycee Golf Course manager Xavier Powell, who said the reduction was needed to make up for revenues lost during a recent two-month closure in which the course underwent assorted renovations.

The panel’s personnel committee has a called meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at the department’s Lake Saracen office. The committee will be reviewing a Parker-written job description for U.S. Grant, a part-time contract employee who oversees competitive softball activities. Commissioner Kami Hunt said last week that the request for a job description followed complaints about softball offerings and a lack of basketball activities within the department.

Also, the commission unanimously endorsed a proposal for the department to acquire a membership with the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA) so that the organization can take charge of the softball and other competitive athletic activities.