SHULLSBURG – Mayor Emmitt Reilly called the City of Shullsburg meeting to order on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. On the agenda was a revisit regarding purchasing a new police squad.
At their last meeting the council approved purchasing a 2022 Ford F-150 Police Responder from Ewald Automotive Group of Oconomowoc for $38,880. A bid was received from Virtue Motors of Darlington for roughly the same vehicle that was $295 higher then the Ewald price.
Reilly asked if anyone read the city’s purchasing policy. Alder Verne Jackson answered yes and read excerpts of the policy, including ‘taking price and service into account the city shall give dually consideration to local merchants – city, county and state’.
Discussion began on agenda item ‘purchase squad car from Virtue Motors’. Alder Amy Charles ask that the item be switched with ‘overriding Mayor’s veto of council’s action to purchase a squad’.
Charles said, “Part of the discussion is if the new squad is warranted, so I think it should be taken care of first.”
Reilly agreed and the two were swapped on the agenda.
Reilly asked Police Chef Josh Jerry to explain why a new squad is warranted, Jackson asked to speak first.
Jackson said, “In the over forty years that I’ve been associated with the city, I don’t think any employee had to produce a hand written explanation for purchasing a vehicle.”
Reilly said, “Well, I asked for it and he gave it to me. Now I think he wants to explain it to you.”
Jerry said, “I don’t know what you want me to explain, it was pretty self explanatory.”
Reilly said, “It’s three pages long. I did some research and right now I don’t see the need for a new police vehicle. The council can do what they want. You said it has 6,000 hours and you said that translates to 4 million miles. It has 46,000 miles and 6,000 hours, most everything else seem fixable.”
Items that are wrong with the car, include: when the key is taken out it dings until you put it back in and jiggle it; door panel on the drivers side is loose; you have to charge the battery (electrical problem); tire censer sporadically indicates the tires have low pressure and when the tires are checked they’re fine.
Reilly said, “The other reason I vetoed this, is why would we buy something from Oconomowoc for $295 less. Why would we thumb our nose at a local merchant? A merchant that supports…”
Charles said, “Emmitt…”
Reilly: “Hey, don’t interrupt me! You asked me to explain it and I’m explaining it. Yea, laugh Jason, it’s all a big joke.”
Jason Wieskircher said, “I have the right to chuckle.”
Reilly continued, “Why would someone who has been in business 34 years and supported the pie auction, donates to the museum, bought a street light in Shullsburg. I don’t understand how you can thumb your nose at somebody like that. Then when you look at the quote from Ewald, it says 2021 Ford F-150 and it’s missing page 8.
Clerk-Treasurer Marsha Einswieler said, “When I scanned the quote two pages were stuck together.”
Reilly: “All the pages are headed stating 2021, then on a small line on the second page it notes the price would be honored for a 2022 vehicle. That has to be the most messed up quote I’ve ever seen. If I would try to do that, nobody would buy from me.”
Charles asked if she could respond and was told yes.
Charles said, “First, I want to make it clear that at the time of the committee meeting to review the bids for purchasing a new squad, we did not have a bid from Virtues. No one was thumbing their nose at Virtues. We would never do that. That’s not a fair characterization of what happened.”
Buck Virtue (who was present) responded, “When we were requested to provide a quote, there was no date, time or place for when that bid was to be submitted. Any other bids I have done a date, time and place was included.”
Charles thanked Virtue and said ‘that’s good to know.’
Reilly said, “As the head of a committee and you ask for a bid, you have a responsibility, especially if they’re a local person that’s done that much business in our town, to make a phone call. If you don’t think that’s your job, I disagree.”
Charles said, “That all aside, the bottom line for me is – are we going to purchase a vehicle or not. Your veto was that we don’t need to purchase a vehicle. That’s a seperate issue from the fact that we didn’t go with a local vendor.”
Jackson said, “That’s my problem with this, Emmitt is saying we don’t need a new vehicle and at the same time he’s chewing us out for not buying local. Which is it?”
Reilly: “It’s both. If you can’t understand that, then I don’t know why you’re here.”
Jackson said, “I’m representing the City of Shullsburg.”
Reilly: “It’s time to grow up!”
Jackson said, “Can we just move on and we can do what we got to do.”
Reilly: “No, there’s more that needs to be said. This is such outrageous behavior. When Gloria was Mayor you chose a bid from Pioneer Ford that was $25 less then Virtues. How can you do that again now! (hit table with fist) That is just ridicules!”
Jackson: “Calm down Emmitt.”
Reilly: “How can you do business for the City of Shullsburg and walk away from someone who has supported the city as much as Buck has?”
Reilly: “Okay what?”
Jackson: “What we have done for the City of Shullsburg? Like we’re doing something wrong here? We just threw out $50,000 in non-profit funding for the City of Shullsburg.”
Reilly: “Hey, your off the topic!”
Jackson: “That’s fine. You’re say we’re not doing out fair share. We are! I’m sorry we didn’t get a bid from Virtues on time. We have another vehicle that’s coming up. Is there a guarantee for everything to happen in one direction?”
Reilly: “You make it right, if you’ve made a mistake.”
Jackson: “We did make it right.”
Reilly: “You didn’t make it right six years ago and you’re not making it right now.”
A conversation between Virtue and the council was heard, focusing on when he got the notice to bid the vehicle. Virtue noted he received notice of the bid in June 2021 and didn’t get numbers from Ford until Oct. 6 and again Virtue stated there was no date and time of when the bid was needed.
Jerry said, “I sent that request for a quote on June 23 and I put in there - please forward quote as soon as possible, including a delivery date, so we can move the process along.”
Virtue said, “That is correct, but if we don’t have the numbers, we don’t have the numbers. I have no problem with the Ewald dealership. I personally know them and they’re a reputable company to work with. In my 34 years, Virtue Motors has sold the City of Shullsburg about twelve vehicles and on those twelve vehicles Virtue Motors has profited $12,000 (about $1,000 per vehicle). I assure you that Virtue Motors has donated over $30,000 to this community and if that doesn’t matter, I’m glad to know that as a businessman and I will share that.”
Jackson said, “I don’t think anybody is denying that Buck has done a lot for our community. We as a board appreciate anything that is done to support Shullsburg.”
Virtue said, “Why would the City of Shullsburg donate $6,000 to Lafayette County Development Corporation to get people to come to this community to do business and when they get here – you don’t do business with them – it’s insane.”
Reilly: “You’re exactly right Buck.”
Charles said, “I think we over lapping issues here. When we went into that meeting we didn’t have all the information everyone else has now, so we made a decision based on the information that we had. I’d like to thank Buck for the donations that he has made to our community. Of course they are appreciated.”
Jim Paqutte said, “I want to go back to the Lafayette County Community Development that the city donated over $6,000 to. I voted against it several times (when he served as a alder). I’ve seen very little or no return from that. Then we turn around ourselves and not support the program that we paid all this money to. It’s crazy.”
Clarles said, “In defending Josh, in his mind he asked for a bid as soon as possible and when we didn’t get a bid from Virtues in three months, it was a concern, so we made a decision based on that.”
Charles then asked Reilly if he was okay with moving forward on the purchase of a vehicle, correct.”
Reilly: “If we buy it from Virtues.”
Jeff Doyle asked why this wasn’t published in the newspaper with a date and time? No response.
Virtue said, “I say this sincerely, it matters not to me if you buy the vehicle from Virtues. It’s not a make or break for Virtue Motors.”
Virtue then made a point – comparing the squad getting replaced and other squads being replaced, where the other cars had two to three times the hours and miles as the Shullsburg squad. Also the items mentioned could be repaired and could be used three to five more years.
Rielly asked the council how they wanted to proceed.
Charles said, “I’d like to consider overriding the veto first.”
Rielly said, “If you override the veto, you will be buying something from Ewald.”
After asking Einswieler for advice, the council made no action on the veto and referred it back to the committee. But later Einswieler said the veto will need to be dealt with one way or another.
Jerry asked, “What do you want me to do about the equipment that has been ordered? (police package equipment that was approved to purchase on a separate motion at approximately $20,000) No response.
Charles said, “I don’t know if we need to take this to the committee, we can reconsider it at the next council meeting.”
Discussion regarding how to handle the veto and how to handle the item.
No action was taken.
In other business:
•A Public meeting will be held Monday, November 15, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. at the Townsend Community Center to discuss and answer question about the upcoming property revaluation the City of Shullsburg is planning.
•The McCoy Public Library will present a life size Candy Land Saturday, Nov. 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 12 noon.
•Paid bills in the amount of $90,951.
•Approved a contract with Gardiner Appraisal Services, LLC of Mineral Point for appraisal services in the amount of $6,900. This price does not include the revaluation the firm is doing for the city.
•No action for a quote from Captain Clean to clean the carpets in the Townsend Center. The city will look into purchasing their own carpet cleaning machine.
•Approved paying off the Sewer Department’s portion of the Public Works Garage loan in the amount of $49,316.
•Approved the proposed 2022 City of Shullsburg budget. The budget will be published in the Nov. 18 Republican Journal. It was noted that the budget is over by $50,000 and it may be necessary to take monies out of the reserve account to cover the overage.