The Caroline Progress: Complaint against Popowicz unfounded:
A recent media report about Supervisor Bobby Popowicz and his employment as the Assistant General Manager have hit Caroline like a bombshell. The story contained unfair allegations said Bobby Popowicz who represents the Port Royal District on the Caroline County Board of Supervisors.
The article told of a Lake of the Woods committee meeting of homeowners seeking to determine “who and what was responsible for nearly $320,000 in cost overruns” of a building project for a pro shop originally slated for $1.5 million.
Lake of the Woods General Manager John Bailey placed the blame for the overruns on Assistant Manager Popowicz who, as project manager, had signed off on change orders that drove the cost up.
But it was Bailey who ordered the change orders and had Popowicz sign for them, said the Caroline Supervisor in an interview March 6.
“I’m being scape-goated. I wasn’t there to defend myself. He’s trying to blame it on me and save his job. I don’t think they’re going to renew his contract when it comes up in May,” said Popowicz who was not asked for his comments for the March 2 story in The Free Lance-Star.
With the deadline for opening the building less than two months away, change orders became necessary for fire suppression, hardy-plank, industrial dishwashers, fiber optic cable, and curb and sidewalk forms.
Yeah, nothing like spending $18,000 for two dishwashers, eh, Bailey?
“We were under the gun to get it open,” said Popowicz who wanted more time to do cost analysis but was over-ruled by Bailey. Instead, work was done on an unpredictable “time and materials” basis and when the bills came rolling in over a week’s time it was a shock.
“In my 20 years as a project manager I’ve never had cost overruns,” said Popowicz who added that Bailey had ordered similar changes on a previous project.
“It was a mess. He was gone a lot of the time for personal reasons. I decided to look for other work,” said Popowicz who now works for Flagstar Bank in Arlington.
Popowicz told of a shouting match with Bailey who ordered concrete form work for sidewalks and roadways torn out and redone “because it wasn’t symmetrical.” The revamped site work incurred about $50,000 in additional charges.
“He had the plans for months,” said Popowicz.
Asked to comment, General Manager John Bailey said he was not making statements to the press. Later phone calls were not returned.
Lake of the Woods Association President Eldon Rucker said, “There were a number of people involved in this project and it is unfair to use one person to blame.”