State pulls halt order on debris cleanup

State pulls halt order on debris cleanup

June 12th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

Document: Unified Cease and Desist

Document: Statement Regarding Work Stoppage Letter

Document: Recision Letter

CLEVELAND, Tenn.-A state board has rescinded its previous letter calling on the company clearing storm debris in Bradley County to "cease and desist."

The Board of Licensing Contractors, a part of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, issued its second letter late Friday.

On Thursday, the board had ordered Unified Recovery Group to stop work because it had not obtained a state contractor's license.

But the board's second letter noted that the company changed its contract with Bradley County.

"The change order removes portions of the scope of work that constituted contracting," said Carolyn Lazenby, executive director of the board.

Dan Howell, executive assistant to County Mayor D. Gary Davis, said in a news release that the initial letter from the Board of Licensing Contractors was in response to a complaint from two Bradley County contractors who submitted bids for the work.

Howell said the companies did not meet Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines and their bids were "much higher" than the company that won the contract.

"After listening to the two contractors' complaints, the State Contractors Licensing Board argued that 'removal of tree stumps in the right of way' constituted construction work and therefore required Unified, the company doing the work in Bradley County, to have a state contractors license,'' Howell said.

The county disagreed.

"Our scope of work was patterned after the scope of work performed in Davidson County following the 2010 floods in Nashville,'' Howell said. A contractor's license was not required in that case.

Unified, which does have a Tennessee business license, has done other storm recovery work in Tennessee, Howell noted, and a contractor's license was not required.

Late Friday, Bradley County removed the "stump removal'' portion of the contract and the board rescinded its order.

Earlier Friday, Davis and Unified made it clear the work would not stop. It continues today.