Commission looks at program to keep eye on contractors

Published 11:05 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

State and local officials may be keeping a closer watch on contractors who perform services after natural disasters in the county.

Lawrence County Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Boster told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday that the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is encouraging participation in its Contractor Registration Program.

Under the program, contractors who wish to help repair homes, clean up debris and perform other post-disaster work register for recognition as a reputable business operator.

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“This is to prevent the vultures from swooping in after a disaster, taking advantage of people and then leaving the county in worse shape than when they came in,” Boster explained.

If they decide to participate, local officials would collect forms from prospective contractors and submit the information to the OAG’s consumer protection department which would then perform any necessary checks and verify the information.

“We’re not trying to develop a list of recommendations but provide a list of contractors checked out by the Attorney General’s Office,” Boster said.

The commission agreed to refer the matter to the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office to make sure there is no problem specific to this county that would preclude implementation of it.

In other matters, the Caremark prescription drug program approved by the commission earlier this year officials began Tuesday.

The drug plan is free to all county residents. Interested people may pick up a discount card at the commission office.

Commissioner Les Boggs said a list of other places where the cards are available will be made public later.

Boggs said people who use the card save an average of 22 to 23 percent.

The commission also agreed to advertise for the bids for the removal of hay at the Lawrence County Airpark.

Vernon Collier, of the Proctorville area, who has cut the hay at the airpark for a number of years, objected when he heard the hay would be given to someone else without his prior knowledge.

Commissioners said because the cost of hay had increased, other farmers had expressed an interest in the county-owned hay.

The commission asked for a legal opinion from the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office and was told the fairest way to handle the problem was to put the hay up for bid.