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Firm Ought To Be in Hot Water

Everyone makes mistakes. But as most of us learned early in our working careers, holding those who err accountable is a key means of limiting blunders.

Clearly, someone is at fault for a problem that has closed the indoor swimming pool at Wheeling Park High School. The failure forced WPHS Swim Team members to practice elsewhere and, to date, has forced cancellation of one competition meet.

Ohio County Schools officials discussed the matter during a Board of Education meeting Monday. That came after a letter to the editor, printed in the Sunday News-Register, was critical of officials’ response to the pool problem.

School Superintendent Kim Miller commented Monday that “we wanted the board of education to know we have not ignored anything.” She added that efforts are being made to find a contractor with the expertise to deal with the situation.

It involves heating the swimming pool water, Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones explained.

In a recent post on the swim team’s Facebook page, Jones noted the dilemma results from part of a major improvement project at schools throughout the county. It had been hoped money could be saved on utilities by installing a new energy-efficient system to maintain the pool’s water at a desired temperature.

Unfortunately, while that system can maintain a set temperature, it is not capable of heating the water up to that level — though officials at CMTA Energy Solutions, the company handling energy efficiency improvements, thought it would.

As a result, an auxiliary heater is needed. There have been obstacles with that, too, Jones said. On Monday, he said another heater has been ordered, but installing it will do no good until other issues, possibly involving electric supply, are resolved.

In his Facebook posting, Jones noted CMTA had purchased a heater “to make up” for the company’s initial error. That is a good start.

But, judging by Jones’ posting, the entire expensive fiasco stems from CMTA’s error. If that is true, the company needs to be held fully accountable.

Too often, public bodies tolerate errors by contractors without enforcing financial accountability — that is, requiring companies to pay for their mistakes. That should not be allowed to occur in this situation.

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