Councilwoman to Bartholomew: Don’t bribe me

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

After a heated discussion, the Opp City Council awarded a $44,800 bid to Catrett Construction for the renovation of bathrooms at the Hardin Street Community Center, but not before Councilwoman Mary Brundidge accused the mayor of using the project as a bribe.

“This was done about four months ago,” Mayor John Bartholomew said. “We bid out the contract to redo the bathrooms at Hardin Street Community Center. I didn’t want to bring it up at the time. I was to bring it up since we have the bonds.

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“We have one. Two. Three bids. Is that correct?” he asked.

“I believe there were four,” said City Clerk Connie Smith.

KHDM bid some $59,000; Sasser Construction bid $85,000 and Diversified bid $61,000.

“These are bathrooms that need to be done,” Bartholomew said. “We did the remodeling and put a brand new kitchen in this facility a year ago. Put brand new cabinets, central heating and cooling. The bathrooms are so out of date.”

Councilmember Arlin Davis said the bathrooms would be handicapped accessible.

“Are we spending this money before we get our hands on it?” Councilmember Bobby Ray Owens asked.

“I’m just asking you. You don’t have to pass this,” Bartholomew said. “This is something I brung to you five or six months ago.”

Councilmember TD Morgan said he thought the project was going to be funded out of the general fund.

Owens asked when did the fire department come into play. He said he knew about the awning for the stadium and the library.

“I didn’t hear nothing about not fire department,” he said.

In January, Bartholomew mentioned renovating the fire department as one of three priorities, including the awning and the library.

Councilwoman Mary Brundidge, who represents the district in which Hardin Street Community Center is located, said that they need to do, but do it right.

“That is right. We did the bids and everything,” Bartholomew said.

“John, those bathrooms was talked about a year ago and nothing was done,” Brundidge said. “But we need to know where this money is going.”

“Mary, actually I did this for you because you asked me to,” Bartholomew said.

“Do it for the city and the people,” she said. “Don’t do nothing for me.”

“I’m not doing this for you, but you asked me to bring this to them (the council),” the mayor said. “But if you don’t want to for you district, that’s fine.”

Brundidge said she wanted to do this the right way.

“Don’t bribe me and don’t bribe my district,” she said.

Bartholomew said he wasn’t bribing the district.

“I’m just saying this is what needs to be done,” he said.