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Power boxes installed where charging stations were voted down
Did Bremerton Public Works Director Chal Martin veto the Bremerton City Council?
That's the question being asked this week after conduit and four electrical boxes popped up in nearly the exact location that city councilors unanimously nixed them earlier this summer.
During the city council's June 19 meeting, council members made it abundantly clear that none of them wanted electric vehicle charging stations across from the post office as part of the $3 million Pacific Avenue project.
The council also voted unanimously to "direct the mayor to execute a change order with RV Associates to remove from the contract the installation of charging stations and related infrastructure on Pacific Avenue."
Late last week, though, several residents noticed that four electric boxes were installed where the charging stations had been proposed.
Martin bristled at any whiff of wrongdoing this week.
"You can probably tell this frustrates me because, basically, you know, what I get out of this is that somehow I've got some nefarious friggin' plan to lie to everybody about this infrastructure," Martin said. "You know, I just have too damn many things to do to be hatching up some plot to contravene what the council wants me to do."
Martin said he believes firmly that his department complied with the "letter of the motion" and the intent of the city council.
"We removed the conduit that would connect the junction boxes to the pedestal pads, and we removed the pedestal pads," Martin wrote in an email. "In addition, there was a separate electrical circuit, associated with a separate electrical service cabinet, intended specifically for providing power to the charging stations, which was also eliminated."
When asked for a copy of the change order to the project that the city council demanded, Martin said, "the change order has not been finalized yet," later adding, "often change orders are implemented verbally while the paperwork catches up."
Martin also said that, in retrospect, he probably would have done things differently and only installed two power boxes rather than four.
"This is not exactly what I would have wanted, but we're 100 percent clean on this. One-hundred percent," Martin said.
Some, though, don't see it that way at all.
Robert Parker, a longtime city hall watchdog, was alarmed to see the four power boxes last Friday and feels that the city council has been defied.
"I think the council was very clear," Parker wrote in an email to Martin, the mayor, city councilors and others. "The conversation was very specific and I think the council and community wishes were discarded."
City Council President Greg Wheeler said he is withholding comment until he had a chance to speak with Martin.
"I wouldn't mind having our whole council briefed on this since it has come up," Wheeler added. "I'm gonna ask Chal to update us Wednesday night and we'll see what he has to say."