Tempers flared and accusations were hurled as the Board of Trustees heard comments from the public before ultimately voting to terminate the Township’s towing contract with .
“In America, individual businesses are required to compete. Nightingale competed, and was awarded a contract. It’s clear they violated that contract,” said Shelby Township Trustee Michael Flynn, before voting in favor of terminating the contact.
A 5-2 vote was taken at Tuesday’s meeting. Earlier this month,
Among the claims of violations were overcharges in excess of $9,000; failure to complete site improvements; failure to prominently display towing charges and hours of operation, and employing a person who is considered a risk to public safety.
The allegations were detailed in a report by Russ Weipert, who is a former Troy police officer, who Stathakis hired as a consultant to delve deeper into the police auction process and the Township’s towing contract.
Weipert's $2,000 fee to conduct the study was paid out of the police fund budget.
Weipert’s in-depth report detailing the alleged contract violations was given to the Board Tuesday morning for consideration and handed to the Nightingale’s attorney, Paul Kowal, at the meeting. Paul Kowal is the husband of outgoing Township Clerk Terri Kowal. This was Terri Kowal's .
Paul Kowal told the board it was premature to bring the contract to the Board for a formal vote before he had a chance to look over the allegations and the examples provided.
Terri Kowal and Trustee Lisa Manzella, who voted against the contract termination, agreed.
“We got the report at 10:30 this morning. I can’t believe the board would make such a drastic vote in this short amount of time,” said Terri Kowal. “I’m glad this is my last meeting. This is just incredible. “
has worked in some capacity with the Township for its towing needs for more than 50 years. The contract will be terminated on Feb. 7, 2012.
The Nightingale Towing Services current three-year contact is due to expire in July 2013. If the board does not agree upon a new vender before then, an interim towing company will be appointed.
Terri Kowal sharply suggested Utica Van Dyke Towing would be used as the interim towing company, as it was the company awarded the contract in 2009, but the offer was rescinded before it went into effect because it was discovered the company didn’t meet proposal requirements.
Members of the audience accused the Board, and Stathakis in particular, of satisfying a personal vendetta against Nightingale Towing Services, and of conducing a “witch hunt” against the company.
“You have had a problem with us since day one - since you wanted to give the contract to Utica Van Dyke Towing,” said Marsha Nightingale.
Most of the Nightingale family left the boardroom before the vote was taken.
“I am pretty sure where the votes are going to go. I was told by one member of the Board that if you wound the king but don’t kill him, he’ll come back. Well, that’s coming true tonight. I can live with that,” said John Nightingale.