Former Phenix City Utilities Director Greg Glass is denying that violations of state and city laws occurred during his watch over the department.
Glass, 60, responded in writing to allegations brought by interim Utilities Director Steve Smith that irregularities have been found in the department since
Glass’s departure and Smith assuming control on May 27.
Glass has officially retired from city government after being initially asked to resign or be fired more than two weeks ago by City Manager H.H. “Bubba” Roberts.
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Smith presented the Phenix City Council with an eight-point summary of issues in the operation of the utilities department during a work session on June 3. He said they were just a few of many problems found since assuming control.
Glass said Tuesday he was not worried about the allegations. “I don’t see anything there that’s of any concern to me,” he said.
Here are the issues presented by Smith and Glass’ responses.
A change order approved on a water line improvements contract at the new Holiday Inn Express site on the 280 Bypass in excess of $18,000 without council’s authorization. Smith found the completed work necessary and the council approved a resolution ratifying the work done by Wilhite Enterprises for $18,196.42 during its June 4 council meeting.
Glass: It was “totally unnecessary as expressed by involved engineers and architects, but an emergency as ordered by the city manager. I am shocked at Herman Roberts’ lack of response to this issue with regards to change order procedures.”
Improper collection of city accounts.
Glass: “All of these (garbage and sewer) are in the Fort Mitchell water and sewer authority jurisdiction, which has refused to handle such billing for the Phenix City Utilities Department in Ridgebrook, and along Lonesome Pine Road.
An order for 80,000 preprinted envelopes without following state and city purchasing regulations.
Glass: “We have recently gone through a painful software conversion with a firm highly endorsed by Smith, as he boasts of being so knowledgeable in this area. The entire experience was a disaster and we wound up with a system far inferior to our prior system. Envelopes were an issue, and . . . I chose to deal with what I considered a sole source. This could be viewed as an error on my part, which I had planned to address prior to my untimely departure.”
A contractor being given a verbal order for an amount in excess of $100,000 for work on digester No. 3 of the wastewater plant without any of the required state and city purchasing regulations being followed.
Glass: “This and all related activities were related to an ‘explosion’ in Digester No. 3. Almost all activities were of an emergency need.”
Alabama Department of Environmental Management approval requests sent to the wrong department, delaying an $86,952.43 grant reimbursement.
Glass: “This is emphatically not true. This grant was not administered through the Utilities Department, but through another agency, with the Utilities Department providing supporting documentation. Nothing was forwarded to the wrong department.”
The former utilities director says the city has been mismanaging its finances for years and points to the Goat Harris subdivision sewer project as one example of the mismanagement.