I am one that agrees that if someone does a job then that person should be paid for it. However, Mr. Engelmann signed a contract for designing and building this Whitespace project. When someone submits a bid, you would think that they take into consideration that fact that things might change during the course of the project, and figure into that a contingency amount. I have also learned that the 6th pole that is now part of the project, it not a pole that the town had to pay to have put in. It is in fact an existing pole on a gentleman's property that he allowed the town to put the equipment on. The town has entered into an agreement to pay this man $50.00 a month to cover the cost of electricity that is used by the equipment. It is my understanding that every one of the poles incur an electric bill each month.
I have heard by some that Mr. Engelmann was fired by the previous supervisor and board. I have to disagree with that reasoning. Not agreeing to sign a contract to operate this Whitespace system is in fact Mr. Engelmann's own fault. He refused to sign it unless he was paid the extra money he is claiming he is owed. Mr. Engelmann however, did in fact operate the system for a little over two months, letting the supervisor and board think he was going to sign the contract. He collected fees from subscribers for this time, in fact he did not send the town their share for at two months or more. Has he paid this back to the town? As far as the money is concerned, I personally feel Mr. Engelmann has been paid all that he is owed by the taxpayers of this town, and I find it irresponsible of the current board to pay him his “ransom” fee.
Now onto my next problem. Mr. Engelmann stated to the Supreme Court Judge that he had locked himself out of the system for Whitespace. His exact words were:
"I removed myself. I have no ability to
interfere. I used to have remote access,
which was a VPN Tunnel. I turned that at
the Town's end. So there is no way for me
to turn that back on. I have no ability to
touch the network, monitor it, do anything
Mr. Engelmann stated this again for the Post Star. However, at the last board meeting, Cynthia Hyde and Kathy Templeton stated the Mr. Fred Engelmann had “already been assisting them” with Whitespace. Cynthia Hyde said she came on one day and the whole system was down. She called Mr. Engelmann and he agreed to meet her and Kathy Templeton at the pole to see what he could do. First of all, what did he think he would be able to do since he claimed he “locked” himself out of the system? Cynthia Hyde stated that he was able to reset the system to get it running once again. How did he do this in a system he had locked himself out of? The next thing Cynthia Hyde stated is that over graduation weekend, Mr. Englemann called her with concerns of one of the pole boxes overheating.
She stated that he had been monitoring the system and saw this. Once again, Mr. Engelmann stated he “locked himself out” and had no way to monitor the system, but here he states he is doing just that. Cynthia Hyde also stated that Mr. Engelmann was unable to operate the system for the Town but he would be willing to train someone to do so. This is one of the reason's Cynthia Hyde is using to pay him over $8000.00. In fact. Mr. Engelmann stated to the Supreme Court judge that he would do that exact same thing for free, so how can they use that as a reason to pay him? In fact, Mr. Englemann also stated that anyone with IT training could operate this system, so why hasn't this board even tried to find someone? Six months in and they are still going in circles.
I personally am seeing this as a tactic by Mr. Engelmann to wait until a new board was in place to once again submit this bill and I am also seeing it as a continuation of the current board to use their hatred towards the previous supervisor and board, to do what ever they can to make it look like the previous administration messed up. In my eyes, it is this administration that has done nothing but mess up and blame anyone else they could for it.
I do not have whitespace, but if I did, I would be very worried over my personal information as of right now. If Mr. Engelmann can play a game of “who's on first” with his ability to access the system, who knows what he can see people doing.
I would proceed with caution if it were me.