Alna selectmen

Alna’s Pentaleri, Woolwich’s Holbrook differ on outlook for Holbrook’s plowing performance this winter in Alna

Mon, 11/07/2022 - 8:45am
    Alna First Selectman Ed Pentaleri told meeting-goers at the town office and over Zoom Nov. 2, he would like nothing more than to see Holbrook Excavating of Woolwich have a successful season plowing the roads this winter. “I’m sorry to say that nothing I’ve seen over the last several months leads me to believe that we’re likely to see a performance any better than we saw last year. I may be surprised. I will be happy to be mistaken in my concerns. But honestly I wanted to let people know that I’m actually quite concerned that we might see a performance this year that ends up being even worse than ... last year. In fact, I’m concerned enough, that I’ve been working over the last several months to be as prepared as we can in case things really end up going badly.”
    The firm’s owner, reached Sunday, said he didn’t know why Pentaleri would say that.

    In the meeting, Pentaleri recalled instances last winter of equipment or other issues impacting plowing or roads’ pre-treatment; he recalled Alna having five accidents in one storm. And for this winter, year three of the three-year deal, he suggested people adjust their expectations and prepare for the plows to possibly not be out as early or as frequently in a storm “as they should be.” If that happens, he hopes to have back up plow services “to help get the job done,” but, due to their other work, those substitute services may not be able to respond until after the storm, he said.

    The contract with Holbrook gives the board discretion to fill in with other contractors, he said.
    Resident Honor Sage asked Pentaleri why he thought performance this winter could be worse. “I just haven’t seen the indicators that I would expect to see of a commitment to really do better ...,” he said. He also cited his “interactions” with the contractor. In the meeting and an email response to Wiscasset Newspaper’s questions Nov. 6, he declined to elaborate on the basis for his concerns or on points Holbrook Excavating owner Evan Holbrook raised in a phone interview Nov. 6. 
    Holbrook told Wiscasset Newspaper he has always tried to be cordial and has always been truthful with Alna officials. He said he didn’t know why Pentaleri would make the Nov. 2 statements. Holbrook said that does not foster a good relationship and it makes him less desire to move forward with the town. Asked if he meant future contracts or the last year of this one, he said he “would consider” withdrawing from this one. 
    Holbrook said the truck that had the problem in year two was fixed, his fleet is one truck greater than in year one, his team of drivers is one greater this year, plus he is back driving after rotator cuff surgery.
    Besides Pentaleri’s new statements, Holbrook said he has had other surprises from Alna, including, he said, not being told in advance a payment would be smaller due to a time the town had the road commissioner do some work. That was one of the points Pentaleri had no new comment on.

    Also Nov. 2, selectmen appointed Shelby Biddy to the Sheepscot Valley Regional School Unit board seat Kristina Verney resigned from. Pentaleri and Second Selectman Linda Kristan said voters will pick someone in March to fill the rest of Verney’s term that ends in 2024.

    And code enforcement officer and plumbing inspector Tom McKenzie has resigned effective Dec. 1. McKenzie explained he has a new full-time job that needs his full attention. The town has started seeking its next CEO and plumbing inspector to avoid a gap in coverage, Pentaleri said.