Commissioner: Save, don't fix, courthouse clocks

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Marshall County commissioner is calling for a change to a contract for roof repairs and other work on the County Courthouse. He'd leave the clocks broken.

However, Commissioner Scottie Poarch would use the stopped clocks as a way to memorialize events in American history such as 9-11 and/or Pearl Harbor Day. The clocks could be left at 9:11 and 12:07.

While he didn't mention it, a well-known time is 11 a.m., Nov. 11, Armistice Day, when the peace treaty was signed to end World War I. It's now known as Veterans Day.

Three of the four clocks on top of the Courthouse don't keep time, so Poarch says, until there's an economic recovery here, he's against spending money for that part of the project.

"I don't think that's a wise choice this year," Poarch said. "The cost is estimated at $12,500, and it will turn out to be $25,000."

The County Commission meets on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Courthouse Annex on Lewisburg's Public Square. The first resolution scheduled for consideration is for a $410,777 contract with D.F. Chase Inc. of Nashville. It includes $12,000 for clock repair - interior mechanical and drives.

"We should have fixed it before, but you can't change the past," Poarch said.

And so he suggests displaying historic times on the clocks that don't work, "instead of spending $25,000," a dollar amount that's twice the quote for the repairs, an increase based on his apparent anticipation that the job will cost twice the estimate.

"We just had to cut our own pay and there was talk of cutting hours," Poarch said of the 30 percent cut in commissioners pay to raise money for grants to volunteer fire departments, and an abandoned plan to reduce county employees' work week by two hours to reduce spending.

As for Courthouse restoration and its repair, Poarch said, "I believe in the historical part of it, but sometimes you've got to use common sense."

He does endorse roof repair and steps to rid the building of mold if it's part of the problem.