CLEARFIELD – At a special meeting Friday morning, the Clearfield County Commissioners approved repair contracts for the Clearfield County Administrative Offices (CCAO), which were damaged during last weekend’s devastating fire in downtown Clearfield.
According to Commissioner Chairperson Joan Robinson-McMillen, SERVPRO Cleanup Services has been cleaning up the CCAO, including fire, smoke and water restoration. She said its roof has been patched since the fire to protect it from the weather. She said the CCAO roof needs to be completely replaced, in addition to its office furniture that was destroyed by smoke and water damage.
Robinson-McMillen said the county has some computer equipment that needs to be repaired. She said although they were able to save files from the hard drives, they were compromised due to the time lapse between when the water hit them and when they were dried out. Robinson-McMillen said others need wiped down to eliminate the smoke odor.
Before Robinson-McMillen presented the repair contracts to date, she said the county anticipates more before its next meeting Jan. 26. Robinson-McMillen asked to be authorized to execute them as well. Solicitor Kim Kesner said the Sunshine Law has a limited exception about executing contracts outside of a public meeting in the event of an emergency.
“It’s my opinion that doesn’t apply to repair contracts where the commissioners have the ability to have a special meeting to approve those,” he said. However, he said dealing with this emergency is a “moving target,” while it’s difficult for the commissioners to know exactly the costs of needed repairs. Kesner pointed out that these repairs need to be done to prevent further disruption of the county offices.
Kesner said SERVPRO arrived immediately and started working Sunday night and has been working feverishly since then. He said while the Sunshine Law doesn’t provide an exception in covering the emergency, the Clearfield County Code does. He said the county code releases the commissioners from bidding when they’re doing repairs to public works.
“And, this situation certainly falls within that exception,” said Kesner. He suggested the commissioners review the contracts to date and approve them in separate motions. Then, he suggested a “general” motion to publicly authorize Robinson-McMillen to execute any anticipated contracts pending their next meeting.
The commissioners voted to approve repair contracts in the amount of $28,190 with 765-DECK for roof replacement; $17,877.60 with CDWG for computer equipment; and $6,873.45 for office furniture (chairs). They also voted to authorize Robinson-McMillen to execute anticipated repair contracts with consent of the other two commissioners pending their next meeting.
“It’s all covered by insurance, and we’re simply bringing the building back to its manner before the fire,” said Robinson-McMillen.
Starting sometime next week, she said SERVPRO will have a large trailer in the parking lot for the county to store items to be moved back into the CCAO. In addition to the commissioners, she said the Election’s, Controller’s and Veterans Affairs offices have all been operating out of the Courthouse Annex since Monday. The county’s Planning & Solid Waste Office has been operating out of the Clearfield 911 Center.
Robinson-McMillen said the county hopes it will begin operating at the CCAO again by Tuesday, with the exception to the Clearfield County Planning & Solid Waste Office. She said these offices might not all be operating in their pre-fire locations when they re-open the CCAO. Robinson-McMillen said there will be a temporarily wall to block the heavily damaged sections on the first and second floors of the CCAO from where county offices will be operating at. She said the county’s Planning & Solid Waste Office will re-locate from the Clearfield 911 Center into the first-floor conference room at the Courthouse Annex.
“That’s the best case scenario,” she said.