Accountability required

If you are a homeowner, you probably expect the roof over your head to last for more than 11 years. Martins Ferry Board of Education members have the same opinion.

Roofs on some Martins Ferry school buildings constructed about 11 years ago began leaking not long after the structures were completed. The condition of the roofs has gotten so bad that school officials have launched a $7 million project to replace them all.

Board members are not taking the outrage lying down. They have hired a Columbus law firm to look into why the existing roofs failed so quickly. Everything from design to materials used is being investigated.

So is the quality of work done by contractors and subcontractors.

Clearly, something went wrong. Except in unusual circumstances, roofs should not need to be replaced after just 11 years.

This time around, school officials are being very cautious. A consulting company was hired to review bids on the new roofs, along with the companies providing them. That resulted in the Mansuetto Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. of Martins Ferry getting the contract, for $7,075,800.

That was substantially higher than the low bid of $6,450,000 — but board members were right to decide the lowest bid may not always be the best.

How long will it take for the Columbus law firm to report its findings on the roof failures? That is difficult to say. Clearly, a thorough investigation, giving the board solid grounds for holding those at fault responsible financially, is required.

Once it is completed, there will be additional expenses for the school district in attempting to get some financial satisfaction from those to blame for the faulty roofs.

Board of Education members should not hesitate to pursue the matter. Someone other than Martins Ferry taxpayers ought to pay for this one.

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