Licensed to paint

Yesterday's sunrise on Dinkins Bayou.
November 11, 2015 -- All the exterior painting on our house came to a grinding halt last Thursday.  Our paint contractor had unwittingly allowed his Sanibel license to expire.  A competing painter reported him in to the city.

A competing painter gave us an estimate of $21,000 last spring for the exterior painting. Understandably, we sought other estimates and hired a different painter -- one that was not so expensive.

Yet as our painter's crew was working away last week, a competing painter's truck and car were seen multiple times lurking near our house -- even though the road is posted "private."  Once, the snooping driver of the vehicle even had the nerve to turn around in our driveway!
 
A competing painter's timing was impeccable.  He probably called in the complaint on the day before the  city's contractor review board met.  The city inspector showed up at our property on the day of the monthly contractor review board meeting.  Miraculously, the city inspector showed up at one of those rare times when neither Tom nor I was home.

Our painter should not have allowed his license to expire.  But he did.  He immediately went to city hall and asked if he could have the license re-activated.  No, was the answer.  He had to start over, and re-apply, he was told.  And the next contractor review board, where the decision on approval of the application could be made, would not happen until December 1.  Supposedly, someone told him his truck better not be seen on the island in the meantime.  Wow.

That day, I came home before Tom did.  It was only 3:30PM, and I wondered where the painters had gone.  Fortunately the painters' boss called and explained what happened.

So we now have a different painting contractor.  This one has a Sanibel license.  I checked, on the city's web site.  I didn't take anyone's word or business card information this time.  The city updates its list of approved contractors by the 15th of every month, according to its web site, mysanibel.com.

Eventually, I hope our original painter gets his license again.  He's very good at his job, and his crew is outstanding.

I would never hire a competing painter who turns other painters in to the city, however.  Never. Especially one who times his complaint so that his competitor is barred from doing business on the island for an entire month.  I prefer doing business with professionals who have a sense of fair play.  I think I get that from my father, may he rest in peace.

I don't blame the city.  The city employees were doing their jobs, that's all.  But I sure hope they were respectful to our original painter.  Surely nobody in city hall said, "We better not see your truck on the island in the meantime."  They must have used some much more polite and respectful wording, don't you think?..

I listened to the audio recording of a recent contractor review board meeting.  Two contractors were approved for licenses at that meeting.  The board members were civil in their questioning of the contractors, but all the questions seemed to be about items that are probably already part of the written application.

I used to attend most city council meetings and some planning commission meetings.  That was a huge time commitment.  Now these meetings are available to me via live audio streaming.  If I miss that opportunity, I can also listen to a meeting after-the-fact, if I am so inclined.

Many cities have video broadcasts of their public meetings.  But our little city has been reluctant to use video, even when a gentleman offered to pay for it.  I think the fear is that people will act up for the cameras.

That fear might be justified.

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