The headline indicates a fiasco:  District owes more money to get bus out of storage than what it was sold for.   This article appears in this week’s Morrison County Record and all I can say is, how do supposedly intelligent people get themselves into such idiotic situations?

Here’s a summary of the situation for those who don’t want to click through to read the story.  The Little Falls School District had a bus sitting by the Central Office Building five years ago.  The space where the bus was sitting was needed for the Arts & Crafts Fair, so the bus was put into storage at Auto Max.  It was only supposed to be there for a few days, but no one from the district made arrangements to get it out of storage.  Duane Doble, owner of Auto Max, tried to contact transportation people with the district in order to have the bus picked up, but no one from the district acted on his calls.  As the time stretched from a few days to five years, Doble felt guilty about charging the district $10 a day for storage, so he dropped his fee to $1 per day.  Instead of charging the district $18,250 (my basic math estimate) for storage, Doble was willing to settle for $1,500.  Pretty good deal, wouldn’t you say?

When the district finally got its act together, it opened bids to sell the bus.  It got the high bid of $300 from Dave Kalpakoff, but decided not to sell him the bus because it wouldn’t cover the entire cost of the storage bill.  Instead, the district decided to give Duane Doble the bus in lieu of the bill.  He’s going to scrap it.

Could somebody please tell me the logic of this?  If the high bid is $300 and that’s all you can hope to get out of this old bus, why would you not accept the offer (thus, living up to a promise) and then pay the balance of your much-reduced storage bill (thus, living up to an obligation)?

To top this all off, the district’s Business Manager, Nancy Henderson, concludes by saying, “I don’t think the district will be doing business with Auto Max in the future.”  How incredibly snide!  As though it’s the fault of Auto Max that no one from the district came to retrieve the bus.  Frankly, Doble has shown that he is a thoughtful and kind-hearted businessman through all of this and he deserves the district’s future business.  However, I wouldn’t be so unkind as to saddle him with the district’s inept behavior.  Honestly!

I do hope Doble got enough out of that scrapped bus to recover what was owed him.

My school of fish isn’t gonna ride this bus,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

Addendum (7/27/2007):  In today’s edition of the Morrison County Record an apology letter from Nancy Henderson appears.  Way to go, Nancy, for making amends for last week’s comment.  (Sorry, I can’t find an online version, otherwise I’d provide a link.) – P.F.A.P.

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