City manager calls hiring of contractor ‘mistake’

LONGVIEW, Wash. (KOIN 6) — The city manager of Longview admitted Wednesday that is was a mistake to hire a sewer contractor who was not in compliance with the city.

All Out Sewer & Drain Service and its owner, Ray Caldwell, were also indicted by a federal judge for violating the Clean Water Act.

“Well, Ray recently was convicted of in federal court of charges that were related for his illegal dumping activities,” said Jeff Wilson with PTI Septic Services about Caldwell, who is notorious in the area.

A sign advertising the services of All Out & Drain Services in Longview, April 30, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)
A sign advertising the services of All Out & Drain Services in Longview, April 30, 2014. (KOIN 6 News)

As a result of the federal indictment, Caldwell was fined $250,000 and sentenced to 27 months in prison. The city also recently fined the company $11,000.

“I wish our employee had maybe used better judgment on that or maybe saw the bigger picture,” said Longview City Manager Bob Gregory.

Gregory explained that an employee had a plugged sewer at a transit facility and wanted to get it back in service as quickly as possible when he chose to call Caldwell’s company.

“Well again, this is one of our maintenance people who has responsibility for a small building maintenance thing and may not see the bigger picture about something like that there,” said Gregory.

Gregory said he has since told his management team to not do business with All Out Sewer & Drain Service for now.

However, contractors, including Brian Fletcher whose sewer business is next to the city shop where work is done, still wonder.

We kind of feel a little slighted at times when the tax payer dollars go toward the bad behavior and pay for his mistakes when local contractors are out there working trying hard,” said Fletcher.

Gregory said All Out Sewer & Drain will not be hired again until their compliance issues are fixed and the company is back in good standing with the city.

“We don’t have a disbarment policy in town or anything like that with contractors or people that do business. Again, maybe we should,” said Gregory.

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