One recent incident was a shoulder widening project in Tokeland/Grayland area in 2013; county trucks would pick up a load of rock in the morning and then go to a quarry in Grays Harbor for the rest of the day. I called the Department of Public Works to find out why they weren’t hauling from me. Later that morning I received a call from the supervisor, Tom Gratt, wanting to know what my problem was. He said it was faster to go to Grays Harbor Quarry because they get held up at the Smith Creek Bridge Project. I told him my trucks were hauling to the beach area and sometimes you got thru, other times it could be anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. I also informed him he was paying $2/ton more for rock. He said, “The price we pay for rock has nothing to do with the cost of the project.”
I checked mileage myself and if they were held up for 15 minutes at the Smith Creek Bridge, it would still be quicker to purchase material from me. Even as they finished up in Tokeland, they still hauled from a longer distance and paid more for material! I was the low bidder on Drain Rock Project in 2012 for the Monohon Landing Slide Project. The rock was tested and approved prior to the start of the project, where we were required to stockpile. Tom Gratt showed up at the quarry; he looks at the material and tells me, “If I see one rock that doesn’t meet state specifications in that stockpile you will haul it back on your dime.” My first thought was this guy doesn’t like me, but in my opinion, he suffers from CHRONIC SMALL MANS SYNDROME, AND LOW EXECUTIVE FUNCTION.
The latest project is out on Elk Prairie Road in Frances. He called to see if we had plenty of 3” crushed rock; I told him we did. They started hauling but quickly switched to a quarry in Lewis County. I contacted Mr. Gratt to ask why? He said it was faster and closer to job site. After checking mileage, the Lewis County Quarry was .08 of a mile closer to the project. I called Mr. Gratt on April 4, 2014 with this information. His answer was the still the same; it was faster to go to Lewis County; he had timed it himself. He also stated, if he hauled from me, he would have to put on more trucks, and it would be costing the county more money. What he failed to mention, trucks hauling from Lewis County Quarry are occasionally getting held up on the HWY 6 Bridge Project.
Then on April 4, 2014, trucks were observed sitting on site at the Elk Prairie Project not turning a wheel! Some trucks were sitting for up to 45 minutes. I also mentioned he was paying a lot more for his rock, but then our past conversation occurred to me, where Mr. Gratt said, “The price of the rock has nothing to do with the project.”
I mentioned I have two employees sitting at home that would be working if he was hauling from my quarry. I have met with the Pacific County Commissioners and attended a county meeting. The commissioners told me they buy a lot of rock from me, and they do.
However, when I have employees sitting at home and the county is paying more and hauling further; it doesn’t make any sense. I pay plenty of taxes and try to employ as many people as I can. Hopefully, these issues can be resolved, as keeping people working in Pacific County is important.
However, from what I see, management change at the Department of Public Works is probably the only solution because right now because no one is minding the store!
Michael “Hawk” Runyon
Owner Hawk’s Superior Rock Inc.