Williamstown Council gets update on employee uniforms

WILLIAMSTOWN – City council received an update about the change in uniform provider for the city’s maintenance employees during the council meeting Tuesday.

“After council gave approval, we put out two more bids and went ahead and ordered with the Workingman’s Store,” said Williamstown Public Works director Alan Gates.

Gates noted the Workingman’s Store in downtown Marietta had all of the items the employees wanted as well as the proximity as to why it was chosen.

“One of the other companies didn’t even have one of the shirts we need,” he said.

Because the items had to be ordered by the store, Gates said he hopes his department will have the new uniforms by the end of this month.

“It might be longer, but we hope this month so the city won’t have to pay a February bill,” he said.

Until the letter that ends the contract with current uniform provider UniFirst is written by city attorney Blaine Myers, Williamstown still owes the company for its services.

During the Nov. 19 council meeting, Gates approached council regarding the contract with UniFirst, a Boston-based international corporation with more than 230 facilities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Gates told council the city paid UniFirst $5,200 a year in uniform rental and cleaning fees but the majority of the eight employees refused to use it because of the poor quality of the service.

“I am still working with the managers of the Workingman’s Store to get an exact cost,” he said.

Gates said he has been working with managers at Workingman’s Store and believes this partnership will be more advantageous to the city than the current contract.

He said he believes the new contract could save the city as much as $40,000 in 10 years.

City clerk Susan Knopp said there is another year left in the contract between the city and UniFirst, but the contract can be broken by the city, from a clause in the legislation.

There is no contract required by the local store for the city to receive uniforms.

Gates said he will bring in one of the new uniforms to the first council meeting after they arrive.

“The guys are really happy and I am and we look forward to having the new uniforms,” he said. “While they will be new, they won’t be very different.”

In other business:

“Our Tree City USA application was approved,” said Councilwoman Barbara Lewis. The city will celebrate being named a Tree City USA for the 30th year on April 25 with a ceremony.

“We are planning it now,” said Lewis, head of the city’s tree committee.

With this year, Williamstown retains the title of being the longest-running Tree City USA in West Virginia.

Ford reminded residents of the election for the mayor’s and two city council seats on May 13.