City council recognizes longtime employees

Fire Chief Anne Huff, Mayor Becky Ames and City Manager Kyle Hayes present Beaum
Jimmy Singletary, Becky Ames, Kyle Hayes and Carol Riley


The Beaumont City Council recognized 21 employees for long-term loyalty to the city Nov. 7, presenting each with an award signifying their years of service to Beaumont and its citizens.

Two employees received awards for 40 years of service. Yolanda Duriso from Water Quality Control and Beaumont Fire-Rescue Capt. Brad Penisson were both recognized for four decades of employment with the city.

Beaumont Police Detectives JoAnn Jacobs and Lisa Jardine were awarded for 30 years of service, as was Joyce Tanner of Code Enforcement.

The following city employees received awards for 25 years of service: Kelby Abshire, Sewer Collection and Maintenance; William Fratus, Beaumont Fire-Rescue; Dorothy Gray, Beaumont Police Department; Charles Wayne Jeffcoat, BPD; Carolyn Lewis, BPD; Karen Lewis, Convention and Visitors Bureau; Beaumont Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Ocnaschek, BPD; Deane Olivier, BPD; Jo Ann Patillo, Planning Department; Jason Plunkett, BPD; Cheryl Ridinger, BPD; Carol Riley, BPD; Christian Singler, Beaumont Fire-Rescue; Shawn Tolley, BPD; Reginald Williams, Beaumont Fire-Rescue; and Solid Waste Manager Bengy Williams.

RSVP presents city check for volunteer hours

Golden Triangle RSVP Director Crystal Petry of the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission presented an oversized check to the Beaumont City Council representative of thousands of hours of volunteer service by the local community.

“Golden Triangle RSVP is in its 45th year,” Petry told council. “We have over 500 volunteers in Orange, Jefferson and Hardin counties that we recruit and place in nonprofits in the area. Just for the city of Beaumont, our volunteers in one year donated 47,521 hours.

“We are very excited about what our volunteers are doing in the city of Beaumont, as well as Southeast Texas.”

Golden Triangle RSVP is the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for people 55 and older who wish to volunteer around the area. RSVP matches seniors to nonprofits in the area where they can work toward the “betterment of the community,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

Mayor Becky Ames said she is aware of the good works RSVP seniors do in Beaumont and has worked with some volunteers from the organization in the past.

“I know how much they help out,” she told Petry. “We see them in businesses throughout the city – throughout our region – and they do an excellent job. … It means so much to those that they encounter, and I think it means a lot to the seniors, as well.”

Ward I Councilwoman Virginia Jordan said she has worked with RSVP volunteers with Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas. She calculated the value of the services provided by the seniors at about $25 an hour, making the value of the volunteer hours donated to the city in excess of $1,175,000.

Community members 55 and older who wish to volunteer through RSVP should contact volunteer coordinator Penny Pearson at (409) 899-8444, ext. 6402, or e-mail ppearson [at] setrpc [dot] org.

City moves toward filing suit against materials vendor

Rebecca Rutledge, material sales manager for the Gulf Coast division of Oldcastle Materials (formerly APAC), asked the Beaumont City Council to table three items up for a vote Nov. 7.

Rutledge asked council to put off action C on the consent agenda that would authorize the city attorney to file suit against APAC-Texas Inc./Oldcastle Materials Texas Inc. for asphalt used for city street resurfacing projects that the city deemed defective. According to City Manager Kyle Hayes, several streets resurfaced using what it says is defective asphalt provided by APAC have “failed” or “are failing.” The city is considering filing suit for compensation for the substandard materials.

Rutledge also asked the city to table regular agenda items three and four, saying her company had given the low bid on both projects but was rejected due to the ongoing materials dispute.

During public comments, Rutledge said her company provides “quality materials” to the city and other city contractors.

“For over 70 years, we have provided services and materials on your streets and other city projects,” Rutledge told council. “Just last month, we supplied the hot mix for the walking trails at your Wuthering Heights Park off of Delaware. And we are currently working on two major TxDOT projects – one on 69 near Parkdale Mall and on Cardinal Drive. Both are in the city limits.

“It’s come to our attention that the quality of our services and materials has come into question. A couple of the decisions you will be asked to make today will have an adverse effect on our company and a relationship that’s over 70 years old.”

Rutledge asked council for “a chance to dispel rumors or any erroneous information” provided to them.

“Given the opportunity, we would like to explain our side of the story,” she said.

At-large Councilman W.L. Pate asked if it would cause harm to the city to delay the vote on the lawsuit.

Hayes said the council could table the items Rutledge mentioned, but he recommended moving forward.

“There’s no reason to do it, in my opinion,” Hayes replied. “Nothing is going to change. In fact, when we get to the items on the main agenda, we’d like to move forward with those because we re-bid both of those projects. It delayed the projects for the public, probably at least 90 days.”

Regarding the lawsuit specifically, Hayes said, “We’ve already had two executive sessions on this matter. Nothing has changed.”

Hayes said the vendor has had opportunities to settle the dispute, but it remains unresolved.

City Attorney Tyrone Cooper said the city could file suit but “continue discussion” with Oldcastle even after a lawsuit is filed.

Council unanimously approved authorizing the city attorney to file suit against APAC/Oldcastle. Council also unanimously approved regular agenda items three and four that Rutledge asked them to table, awarding two separate contracts for resurfacing projects to LD Construction and Allco LLC.