Downey : Staff Recommends Firing

City staff has recommended that the Downey City Council fire an air-conditioning contractor that admitted overcharging the city for three years and accept a $15,180 settlement from the contractor.

Officials of Weatherite Service Corp. blamed the overcharges on billing errors and offered to reimburse the city $11,195--the exact amount of overcharges. But Downey officials, citing city staff time to investigate the matter, have asked Weatherite for $15,180. The city, in turn, would agree not to sue Weatherite.

The owner of the city's former air-conditioning contractor, Robert Henderson of Hendey Engineering Inc., discovered the overcharges last year when reviewing Weatherite's invoices.

If the City Council approves the staff recommendation, the city will reopen bids on the air-conditioning contract in 60 to 90 days, City Manager Don Davis said.

The council was scheduled to vote on the Weatherite matter Tuesday night, but delayed action for two weeks at Henderson's request. Henderson, who claims the city is owed at least $10,000 more in overcharges than the staff recommendation, said he did not have a chance to review additional invoice information Weatherite submitted to City Hall.

Henderson said he was investigating Weatherite as a private citizen, adding that he does not plan to bid for the contract if it reopens.

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