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Al Wyatt of the William’s Barn Committee contacted me at some point last summer about a large bulge in a retaining wall at the barn. I looked at it and the wall was close to immediate failure. I contacted both DPW director Tom Delaney and the Town Manager immediately. They were both in full agreement that this needed to be dealt with immediately as the Farmer’s Market was held on Fridays and if someone was under it they would likely be killed should it have collapsed.

The Town Manager asked me if I could provide a written quote and if my company could perform the work immediately. I did provide a detailed contract with scope of services detailed. I have a disclosure on file with the Town Clerk. My company specializes in stone walls. We have worked on other town projects over the years including the northwest passage stair and wall project at the public library.

The Town Manager awarded my company the contract. We immediately dismantled the failing section of the wall and cordoned off the work area. The wall did not collapse on its own, however, the moment I touched it with our equipment it immediately collapsed. Someone could have easily be killed at the barn had this not been addressed ASAP.

The contract was for $9,000.00.

We expended over 120 hours of labor at $65/hour to complete this job.

25 tons of crushed stone for drainage behind the wall.

A mini excavator and Bobcat for over a week.

15 tons of new wall stone.

Loam and seed to repair the lawn above and below the repaired wall.

The town got more than their value for the work performed. I am sure that this issue has been brought up because of the Four Corners video incident. The circumstances are not even similar. My company was asked to provide both emergency work that falls under the oversight of the Town Manager in the scenario involving Earthscape, a company that I own. The video production is related to Town Meeting. That is under the control of the Board of Selectmen as it is our warrant.

Therefore, the Selectmen needed to approve the video expenditure but the Town Manager could approve the expenditure of funds under $10,000 under MGL 30a. I find it absolutely (shocking) how someone would try to implicate me in wrongdoing when it is clear that I did no wrong. Something sure is rotten in Groton!

Josh Degen

Groton