CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners tabled their vote in regards to endorsing Bigler Boyz as a hazardous materials removal vendor at Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Attorney C.J. Zwick of DuBois requested the commissioners to endorse Bigler Boyz in becoming a certifiable HAZMAT vendor by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).
According to him, staff members at Bigler Boyz have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars over a number of years to educate themselves on properly providing HAZMAT services.
In recent weeks, Bigler Boyz completed the “last piece to the HAZMAT training puzzle.” Bigler Boyz was requesting endorsement from the county to become a certifiable HAZMAT vendor by the PEMA, said Zwick.
Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen said the county has a contract with Eagle, which is based in Centre County, for HAZMAT services. So far as her knowledge, the county is able to have primary and secondary HAZMAT contracts.
Solicitor Kim Kesner said the county’s current HAZMAT contract with Eagle was executed in June of 2013. He said it was for a three-year term but has a provision allowing either party to terminate with a 30-day written notice.
Kesner also confirmed that the county is able to have primary and secondary HAZMAT contracts. He said the Eagle contract provided that if they cannot respond within two hours, they are to have a back-up certified team for the county.
Commissioner John A. Sobel said it was his impression that the commissioners wouldn’t be taking action but hearing a presentation on Bigler Boyz. He indicated that he was not prepared to vote and would like to visit the Bigler Boyz facility and to consult with Joe Bigar, the county’s emergency services director.
Robinson-McMillen said she shared the same impression as Sobel. She believed the commissioners were going to be requested to vote on the HAZMAT vendor endorsement for Bigler Boyz at their regular meeting on April 24.
Zwick said it only made “good sense” for the commissioners to endorse Bigler Boyz as a HAZMAT vendor. He said it would be better for the county to have a more local vendor to expedite the response to HAZMAT events.
Robinson-McMillen said the county has had an ongoing HAZMAT contract with Eagle and must show some loyalty there. Zwick countered, reminding that Bigler Boyz is a local company, which employs nearly 30 county residents, and they equally deserve the commissioners’ loyalty.
Zwick said if Bigler Boyz received its HAZMAT certification from the PEMA, it would also seek to become the county’s primary response team.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken said the Bigler Boyz has been completing the process for obtaining HAZMAT certification from the PEMA. He said when the county entered into its contract with Eagle the commissioners didn’t visit its facility and took its certifications at face value.
McCracken believed the commissioners were in a position to take action on endorsing Bigler Boyz as a HAZMAT vendor. He proceeded to motion to approve an endorsement letter, which failed to gain a second.
Sobel then motioned to re-schedule the vote on endorsing Bigler Boyz as a HAZMAT vendor in order for the commissioners to make a site visit and further investigate the matter. McCracken said although he believed they could have taken the vote, he would second Sobel’s motion to table the matter; this motion passed, 3-0.
Zwick requested the commissioners schedule a site visit/meeting as soon as possible, so that the matter didn’t get delayed any later than April 24. Sobel said the commissioners would have the chief clerk arrange the site visit/meeting at the Bigler Boyz facility.
Afterwards, Kesner clarified that the commissioners would be voting at their next meeting to endorse Bigler Boyz as a HAZMAT vendor, which wasn’t the same as executing a contract. He said the PEMA would determine if Bigler Boyz was a certifiable HAZMAT vendor.
Kesner said if Bigler Boyz would receive certification from the PEMA and then request to become the county’s primary HAZMAT team, the commissioners would have to terminate the contract with Eagle and accept a contract with Bigler Boyz.