“You put a latex paint over anything shiny, without priming it, and it’s going to peel,” Kenny Layer of Aboff’s Paints in East Hampton said yesterday.
However, at Tuesday night’s East Hampton School Board meeting, it was that particular issue that irked Alison Anderson, a board member. In a lively dialogue with Eric Woellhof, the district’s director of facilities, she asked about peeling paint on the walls outside the high school auditorium and in other areas of the newly painted building.
“It wasn’t primed,” explained Mr. Woellhof. “So the new paint is peeling.”
“Was it done to save money?” Ms. Anderson asked.
“The priming wasn’t bid out,” replied Mr. Woellhof.
Ms. Anderson put her head in her hands in a show of frustration. “So,” she asked Mr. Woellhof, “we are now going to have a continual problem?”
“Yes,” he said.
According to Mr. Woellhof, the school’s architect, Beatty Harvey Coco, with offices in Hauppauge, “did not put prep into the specs.”
“So, we’re going to have to do it all over again? Or pay someone to keep touching it up?” Ms. Anderson asked.
“Yes,” he said.
However, the next day Mr. Woellhof went back to the architectural specifications, which, he said, “are three volumes thick, just for the high school.”
In one section of the contract, he found that the document included the intention to “sand, clean, dry, etch, neutralize, and test” portions of the job that required repainting. It is in those areas, said Mr. Woellhof — the older parts of the building that were pre-existing and painted — where the problem is occurring.
Mr. Woellhof is writing to both the architect and the Park East Construction Corporation to see if this pre-testing was carried out. If not, “they may have to come back and redo it,” he said.
The John M. Marshall Elementary School, which was also updated concurrently with the high school, does not appear to be having the same problems.
“But this is really obvious,” said Mr. Woellhof. “You run your hand over it, and the paint just peels off.”
Calls to Beatty Harvey Coco were not returned as of press time.
In separate news, the East Hampton School Board went into a late-night executive session on Tuesday to discuss Lou Reale, the girls’ softball coach, and his recent suspension by Section XI due to a rule violation.
The final outcome? A strongly worded letter to the Section XI appeals committee — not officially appealing the ruling, but detailing how unfair the board finds the sanction.
Earlier, during the public portion of the meeting, Debra Thompson, a parent bedecked in school colors and wearing a Bonac softball jacket, spoke out on how Mr. Reale’s suspension on Monday was already dampening the team spirit.
“It was too severe,” she said. “And it has really affected the girls.”
John Ryan Sr., a board member, agreed. “The penalty far exceeds what was done,” he said, referring to Mr. Reale’s admitted mistake that he scheduled an extra game during the season. (An article on Mr. Reale’s suspension appears in today’s sports section.)
“An appeal would probably be denied,” said Mr. Ryan. “But we can show that we support, that we acknowledge the support of the students and the parents.
“The softball team backs him 100 percent,” said Mrs. Thompson.
The board also announced that Kevin A. Seaman, an attorney from Stony Brook, would be replacing the firm of Cooper Sapir & Cohen of Melville, which has represented the district since January of 2009.
Mr. Seaman is not slated to come aboard until July 1, but several of the board members made a motion to have him start immediately as a special counsel on unresolved labor negotiations, and to look at past lawsuits that have engaged the district.
“We expect him to analyze the Morgan Lewis situation and advise us on how to proceed,” said Laura Anker Grossman, a board member, referring to the litigation bills of over $2 million that have been accrued of the district’s ongoing lawsuit with Sandpebble Builders. “It’s the first thing we will have him do.”
“I hope they come on right away,” added George Aman, a board member.
“Let’s bring them on tonight,” said Mr. Ryan.
Stephen Talmage, another board member, agreed. “Let’s bring them on as special counsel.”
A motion was passed to do just that, at an hourly rate to be determined.
Mr. Seaman, when reached for comment, said, “I look forward to working with the district for the betterment of the East Hampton schools and the community.”