LIVINGSTON — The Livingston Parish Council instructed the parish president Tuesday night to pay two engineering firms for road plans and to withdraw a complaint he made against the firms to the state engineering board.
The council also voted to send a letter to the engineering board saying the council does not feel that Alvin Fairburn & Associates and McLin and Associates Inc. violated any ethical standards in connection with the parish road overlay project.
The resolutions came after meetings in which the council, Parish President Mike Grimmer and the firms discussed resolving differences over the contract.
Grimmer filed a complaint with the state’s engineering board saying he had not given written authorization for creation of plans for $11.4 million in parish road work.
Grimmer said the parish has only $3.5 million to spend on road projects and that the parish was overbilled for the planning.
“I am not going to put up with extortion,” Alvin Fairburn told the council after an agreement could not be reached to get Grimmer to rescind his complaint to the engineering board.
Fairburn said Grimmer insisted that he say that his firm had done something wrong when it hadn’t.
Grimmer said he would rescind his letter only if all sides agreed that they had made mistakes or that they had not complied with the road overlay contract.
Fairburn suggested that the language was intended to be used to take the road contract from his company.
Grimmer said that was not the case.
A last effort Tuesday night to resolve the matter using language submitted by Blayne Honeycutt, the council’s attorney, failed after the council recessed to allow parties to discuss the matter.
Subsequently, Councilmen Jimmie McCoy, Eddie Wagner, Ronnie Sharp, Randy Rushing and A.C. “Buddy” Mincey voted for all three motions.
Councilwoman Cindy Wale abstained, saying she wasn’t ready to vote on the motions without first hearing the reasoning of Grimmer, who left the meeting after the recess.
Mincey asked how the council could force Grimmer to follow its instructions.
Julie J. Baxter, the attorney representing Fairburn, said the council could file a writ of mandamus asking a court to order Grimmer to comply with his duties.
One of the resolutions instructs Grimmer to pay an invoice of almost $453,000 to the engineering firms.
The council had previously voted to pay a higher bill of $747,000, which Grimmer contested.
Fairburn officials later said a clerical error, which was made because the firm inadvertently used an earlier contract with the parish in figuring the bill, had resulted in the bill being too high.