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November 17, 2017

Blaine to remove speed bumps: Hiring of felon for city work questioned 

Barbara Womack
Grainger Today Correspondent 

BLAINE – The city allowed a convicted felon to do two recent paving jobs at a cost of $4,000, and he is using the project to solicit other business from homeowners, Alderman Michael Hopson told the board of mayor and aldermen Monday.  

Subsequent to the revelation, the board agreed to remove speed bumps in Cohl’s Landing that the man had installed. 

“His name is Frank Small, and he owns RD Paving. He’s not licensed or insured and has an F rating from the Better Business Bureau,” Hopson said. 

Hopson, who is a Grainger County deputy, said he encountered Small Saturday while on duty. He said he had received complaints from residents that Small was soliciting for paving business door to door. 

During his investigation, Hopson said he found Small had several convictions in West Virginia and Kingsport. He also has a hearing in Knox County General Sessions Court Thursday for doing business without a license. 

“He’s scamming people. He’s using his work with Blaine to solicit business. I told him he can’t go door to door doing this stuff,” Hopson said. 

As it turned out, a group of residents from Cohl’s Landing had come to the meeting to complain about the speed bumps in their neighborhood. While the main issue with the majority was that they are simply unnecessary, others said they were afraid the speed bumps might damage their cars. 

Others said that they had not gotten letters from the city seeking for input on the project, but some residents had. 

“We apologize. We acted hastily,” Alderman Jimmy Langley said. 

Hopson added, “We were misinformed.” 

As the board was making its decision to remove the speed bumps, Hopson said, “Let’s cut our losses with this guy (Small) and move on.” 

The board decided to give the removal job to B&C Paving, who had been awarded a $283,470 contract for other roadwork in the city earlier in the meeting. 

The board also agreed to have one speed bump installed at Chadwick Lane at the request of some residents there who have small children. 

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