come to where the flavour is
|Republic-5, Chapter 4
Furious that neither he nor any other municipal employees have been re-elected, Bourrin, forty-two years, head of the Committee on paths in the previous council rushed this morning of July 2, on his phone. He called the company, located outside the township, which had prepared an estimate for the expansion of a communal path of Basseville. The foreman just wanted to do the job these days, he agreed to go there in the morning. Of course, he did not hear anything on the change of municipal majority, and for him, Bourrin still belongs to the council!
They therefore find themselves as agreed. The work is really unimportant, it is just expand a little, in a turn, so that the tanker of the cooperative and all other devices spend more easily. Everything is finished in less than two hours, the foreman is glad, Bourrin also asks that the invoice is quickly sent to the city hall. The very next day, the accountant of the company hands it to the council secretariat.
Denis Auvert heard of the intervention of Bourrin with the contractor: one of the residents told him that this was not at all the work envisaged! In arriving at the city hall, Denis has every intention of approaching the subject. Today, eight in July 1995, the council is meeting to deliberate on many issues including the election of a committee of the Chamber, if the principle of this commission is accepted, and the choice of a lawyer who will be asked to initiate proceedings on faults for the hall, if the principle is accepted.
Once again, the public is quite numerous but instead of the room they had, right from the door when you enter, has been seriously reduced in a few days.
Charline Brack, Edwin Blanc, Andre Anquetot, Archibald Mathurin, Philippe Lepape, Lucien Pifon, Pierre Dutoit and Michel Deval arrived. Jean-Sébastien Billard feared to be the last, but not, a lot of councillors still lack.
-- But what are these things? Jean-Sébastien Billard asks his colleagues who come and welcome him.
These tricks, it is a gas stove and a sink. They were placed near the entrance door. It is what Clementine Fachaud required! And it was purchased and installed in just one week, but it's crazy! Jean-Sébastien Billard goes to the sink and turns the tap. The water flows, on the cold taps. It also runs on the warm side. He turns a button on the gas cooker and places his nose above the corresponding round: it works well. Disconcerted, he wins his place. His colleagues do the same.
Clementine Fachaud in turn, a supermarket bag by hand. A piece of black plastic bag exceeds.
For this first working meeting, no councillor is absent. And then, it seems we will cross swords: we must attend this.
-- Well, all councillors are present, I declare the meeting open.
Clementine Fachaud asks for the floor:
-- But yes, Clementine, we listen to you.
-- And that’s it… As it was voted, I have brought food to cook for the poor, this time it leeks. I will bring it to a family in need after the meeting.
Clementine stands up, approaches the sink, near the door, has a casserole out of her supermarket bag. She fills the casserole with water and throws a little salt, then she dips the leeks that she had the delicacy of peel and cut into small pieces in her home before the meeting. She then places the casserole on the round and ignites it. The work completed under the eyes of an audience amazed by so many kindness, she goes back to her place:
- That's it, Lucien, I thank you, it's up to you.
Who is secretary of the meeting? You, Charline? Ok.
Then Pifon turns to Dutoit:
-- Did you see, Pierre, I obeyed you, are you glad?
-- I am not glad, Mr. Mayor, I just pretend you you will comply with the law.
-- So, you have the floor!
-- Before talking about the committee of the hall and choosing a lawyer, I must say that for all matters related to the multipurpose hall, gentlemen Anquetot and Mathurin will neither participate in the debate or vote.
Mathurin, who does not believe what he sees, startles:
-- I have been elected and you already want to resolve me to silence! But it is undemocratic!
-- Talk about what you know, Michel Deval shouts.
-- Gentlemen Anquetot and Mathurin will not take part in one way or another in the talks and votes about the construction of the hall.
Moreover, it is likely that the administrative court will attribute them a responsibility in the defects that afflict the multipurpose hall. In those circumstances, I maintain that they are concerned with issues related to the multi-purpose hall, that we all know: they must therefore not participate in the debate or vote.
Anquetot whispers to Mathurin, whose anger rises:
-- But yes, scrap, what they say is true, I have already seen this case with a field that I sold to the city and on which we built the hall.
Mathurin bellyaches, looking half convinced.
Colleagues of Anquetot consult him discreetly:
-- But then, we are not eight, but six, and they are still seven! They are the majority for the room!
Dutoit modestly prefers to continue as if he had not heard anything:
-- The situation of the multipurpose hall must be considered very seriously. The infiltration of water which it suffers at the roof makes its use impossible on rainy days: we therefore can not rent it. Moreover, the structure takes water in. We must act as quickly as possible. I propose that we vote on the constitution of a special commission, the Commission of the hall. We must first check who is willing to establish this commission. Then we will have to choose a lawyer, again if a majority has previously supported the principle. I said that, our own initiative, as we have the right to do, we consulted several Cabinets and that we have selected one that we propose: it is Mr Haro. According to him, there would also be a matter to file a complaint of interference and may be other offences but this is not his field. Mayor, I believe we can proceed to a vote.
-- Yeah! ? I am happy, if it's like that. Everyone agrees to vote by show of hands ... No opposition. So, to elect a committee of the room, who votes in favour of this?
Seven hands rise, Mathurin and Anquetot stare at those who dare!
The holidays have delayed a bit his appointment but that's it, an expert, as judicial as the holidays, has been appointed for Basseville-on-Earth: he was appointed the twenty-fifth of September and called Grease at once. Finally, things seem to be on the right road! The council receives a speedy first brief of Grease, the expert. A date is set for the first meeting of the expertise: this will be on the third of November.
Christophe Potteur, head of the Commission of the hall, tapes a letter he prints in four copies : it informs the other members of the Commission of the hall of the appointment of the expert and invites them to reserve their afternoon of November the third. Then he makes his usual tour to hand their letter to Philippe Lepape, Pierre Dutoit, Marion Dulac and Jean-Sébastien Billard.
The weather is clear, it is not yet very cold
The meeting will take place in the city hall at 14.30. Mr Haro will be here. Christophe proposes to his colleagues to gather to his home the day before, ie to make a point.
Pierre Dutoit is away on business when the day fixed by Grease for the first meeting of expertise arrives. For this important event in achieving what now remains reachable of their election platform, Christophe Potteur, Philippe Lepape, Marion Dulac and Jean-Sébastien Billard believe that the first to reach is the question of the hall: the weather is clear but they are dressed warmly because it snowed.
Traces of tires in the snow show them that someone has gone before, someone who reads the newspaper, sitting in his car in the parking lot. They do not know him but he seems rather old: it may not be someone of a company, he should be retires at this age!
It is two o’clock less a quarter, they enter the room, Pifon is still not here, it is normal. The meeting will take place in the great room because the lawyer has warned that there would be more than thirty participants. Tables and chairs were installed, it should be enough, there are already enough seats for many people. With all these tables placed end to end and side by side, we get a large table, three times that of the city hall! But if, despite everything, it were not enough, we could add other ones: there are still ten times as much chairs and tables in the reserve.
Unknown people enter in small groups. Christophe Potteur the hosts, explained the expert that the mayor would arrive soon and invites everybody to take place. Other unknown person enter. Christophe Potteur welcomes them the same way. Then Anquetot, his wife, Mathurin and his son and a few others make their entrance. They are all legal representatives of one of Anquetot group companies who each received a batch in the procurements of the hall. Since their responsibility could little or no be engaged by the judicial expertise and then by the administrative court, they were included in the procedure. They are followed by a plethora of advisers and lawyers, they represent then half of the participants.
Christophe Potteur joins his group:
-- This makes a lot of people!
Marion states that almost all the seats have been taken:
-- The end places at the end must remain free, we keep this place for the expert, on his left will be the architect, on his right, Mr Haro and then us.
Christophe Potteur finds the idea very good ... but people are still arriving.
It is the turn of Mr Haro to enter, he already knows Christophe, but neither Philippe nor Jean-Sébastien. After saying hello to everyone:
-- Oh, Dutoit is not with you?
-- No, it will be hard for him to come to the meetings of expertise, his is often on travel for his business. Nonetheless the mayor, Mr. Pifon, should come.
-- Indeed, it seems highly desirable.
-- Do not sit down immediately, we will pick up other tables and chairs, there are people standing over us and some people are still missing.
Christophe, Philippe and Jean-Sébastien make several trips between the main room and the reserve located at the other end of the small room, which is used for banquets of no more than eighty people. They extend the five-metre table in a sufficient quantity. It will surely be enough now.
Those who were standing take place, Mr Haro and the councillors move to the table. The three seats in front of them are reserved for the architect.
It is 14 hours 30: the old man just now enter the room. He understands that Christophe held a strategic role in organizing the meeting. He moves toward him with a smile:
-- Hello, Edmond Grease, judicial expert.
-- Hello sir, Christophe Potteur.
-- Hello Mr, exclaims Grease, who used to cross Mr Haro in meetings of expertise. How are you? Well I hope!
The conversation undertakes. The mayor should arrive if he has not forgotten hour or day!
Edmond Grease takes place at the end of the table, he opens his bag and pulls out a lot of documents he methodically sort: in front of him (the largest), a little left (those with the least interest) and the last just on his right (those who, without being of the utmost importance, may help support his speech).
Pifon enters, short of breath:
-- OK. So there are all here?
-- No, still not.
-- I prefer this! In many ways, I'm not late, da!
The architect, also accompanied by his lawyer, appears in the framework of the door. He walks slowly, Christophe goes to them and shakes hands, then Christophe shows them their place, they earn the same step.
Everyone is here and has found to sit.
Grease begins to forward a attendance sheet to the participants. The formality accomplished, he asks the architect to explain the principle of the hall building:
-- On a base of concrete, steel claddings on e wood skeleton constitute the side walls, reaching twelve meters above. The same steel claddings were used for the roof and side coverage.
-- I precise for municipal councillors that the claddings, these are the plates. And what is the height of waves of these claddings?
-- Two and a half centimetres, sir, the representatives of cladding supplier says.
-- It is not enough, the wave height for such use should be at least three and a half centimetres.
Grease takes a leaf on his right hand and waving it to his interlocutor:
-- I saw that a commercial representative made the recommendation. Has someone checked his work?
-- No, sir.
-- That's what I thought! Tank you to confirm. And what is the length of the superimposition areas of these claddings,?
-- Twenty centimetres, sir, Anquetot replies.
-- It seems me very short. And how many waterproof gaskets are there at superimposition to avoid rain leakage between the claddings when the wind grows?
-- No one, sir.
-- It's too few!
-- Yes, sir.
The expert, imitated by all the assistance, raises his head. He notes aloud that no ridge line blocks the large trusses in arch that support the coverage lengthwise.
His interlocutor for the company that provided the claddings did not expect to be questioned as early in the proceedings. With a little delay, he wants to reply:
-- Mr expert, Mr expert, please!
-- I want to tell you that this procedure, for which you were appointed, is just a time for settling scores for new advisers with the former municipality!
Grease ostensibly then turns to the architect:
- Good! I think I can summarize the situation. Here, in the west of France in particular, when the wind blows a wall of several hundred square meters of steel claddings on wood there is an effect of sail (boat sail). The wall is too flexible to maintain its rigidity. The structure has no roofing line, the wind force is transmitted to the first truss, that of the west, which then transmits to the claddings set out therein. It then creates an accordion effect that causes a gaping at the superimpositions. If you add to this the thermal variations that occur between day and night and between seasons, you understand that the constraints imposed on coverage can explain the situation. When I arrived, I made a round of the hall from outside and I stated more than once that when I drew on the west side bindings, they fell almost alone. There is a bad design of the whole structure-roof. That is why, Mr. architect, and unless you demonstrate the contrary, I pretend that it is impossible to ensure the tightness of this type of work.
Municipal councillors give Mr Haro a inquiring look The architect gazes at the table in front of him and remains silent.
The first meeting is over. Everyone leaves the hall, with the exception of Councillors and the mayor, who remain a little.
-- So! If we can not ensure the tightness of the hall, it means it will have to be demolished?
-- I do not see what else it could mean, even if we never thought the case what that serious!
-- So! Pifon, happy to have signed the letter now? What would you do now if you had accepted the insurance proposal! You would have six hundred thousand francs, a hall good to be demolished and nothing but the right to shut up!
-- Yeah ...
Republic-5, Chapter 5
After several months of practical operation of a municipal council when a municipal councillor or more is or are concerned, Mathurin, Anquetot and other members of the municipal minority very well understood that those who thought to be the majority before the reversal of Pifon are still the majority when we talk about the room!
Since the last elections, the climate has significantly degraded in the city hall. Mathurin and Anquetot have used several times the council meetings to try to intimidate those called, in short, the opposition. Thus, during the first council meeting that followed the first meeting of expertise in late November, Anquetot he screamed for over an hour, not far from two, saying he would make the expertise last over ten years, that he had on his back a thirteen year procedure on faults with a client and that he would manage so it is at least as long. Dutoit was not here tonight, but the other six, led by Jean-Sébastien, eventually reduce Anquetot to silence!
And then, after the meeting, they gathered at Philippe’s and prepared a still stronger reply. In the weeks that followed, they were informed and began to consider criminal action!
-- We have the right for us and Anquetot will not impose his law! It is no longer the reign of Boutel, even if Aposs is always at the prefecture!
At the next meeting of council, they have moved the discussion to ask about possible criminal aspect of the public contract, they have voted to require the advice of a new lawyer. This study has just achieved, and the convening for the next council, set for March 26, includes a topic on a complaint and the annual budget of the municipality, which must be voted, must include a sum to finance criminal proceedings.
The second expert meeting is scheduled for March 25, 1996: on this hand at least things have taken a good turn. Christophe Potteur made his usual small circuit to hand all the hall commission members letters inviting them to set aside the afternoon of the 25th. He added the latest information, as he did three months ago for the records of expert meetings and those of our lawyer. That day, Jean-Sébastien receives his mother, who greeted Christophe enthusiastically.
Participants at the second meeting are all here. The expert forwards the attendance sheet, which everybody signs.
Nobody knows why, but the old Grease seems embarrassed. He speaks with Mathurin, who was in charge of technical inspection. Mathurin recognizes without getting pray that, for technical inspections of the hall, his Cabinet has just resurfaced operations that companies reported but that nobody at home, checked it was the good operations that were asked:
-- You understand, sir, for thirty thousand francs!
After that, Grease address Ms. Anquetot, which was so dark mine when she arrived. It is, in the eyes of the trade register at least, who runs "Aérotoit", the roofing contractor. Grease humbly bows to her twice and then says:
-- Everyone worked well, nobody is at fault. The standards and DTU have been met but the standards and DTU can not foresee everything. We shall make the next coverage on the same principle, taking highest wave cladding, increasing the length of superimposition and adding waterproof gaskets.
The meeting still lasts a bit and then Grease declares it completed. Those of the Commission of the hall remain seated and watch, without being able to say a word, the others get up and leave. Madam Anquetot and her team have almost reached the door when Grease joins them. Again, he pays tribute to her:
-- Everyone worked well, worked well.
The members of the Commission of the hall are left alone: they are stunned. Pifon stands up, he walks nervously back and wide and can not help saying:
-- Ah, I’m disappointed, I’m disappointed!
The last that is still sitting gets up and all stand out. Mr Haro, who suffer from the inner ear, left the first.
The day after the second meeting of expertise, March 26, 1996, the main purpose of the city council meeting is a capital formality in the life of any municipality, the vote on the budget. Since the agenda may prove vitally important for Anquetot and others, the public has moved more than usual.
-- Well, all councillors are present, I declare the meeting open.
Clementine Fachaud asks for the floor:
-- But yes, Clementine.
-- And that’s it… As it has been voted, I have brought food to cook for the poor, this time it's potatoes. I will bring it to a family in need after the meeting.
Clementine rises, approaching the sink, near the door, has a casserole out of her supermarket bag she washed home as she could have done here, she fills the casserole with water and throws a little salt. She then places the casserole on the gas, and turns the button. She waits three minutes, until water boils. Then she dips the potatoes, she had the discretion to peel and cut into small pieces in her home before the meeting. The work completed under the eyes of an audience amazed by so many goodness, goes back to her place:
-- That's it, Lucien, I thank you, it's up to you.
-- It is the budget today! But, as we have a vote on a debate before, I asked the collector to arrive later. A volunteer to be secretary of the meeting?
Finally, Clementine accepts demurely. Pifon thanks her warmly and then addresses the touchy topic:
-- The Commission of the hall wants that we vote to file a complaint. It is up to you, Christophe.
-- After study, it appears that the contracts of the hall were marred by numerous irregularities and that they fall within the criminal justice!
Clementine dashes her pen:
-- Huh! there are not many companies that work. With Andrew, you have the chance to have some in Basseville-on-Earth. And you want to demolish those who do everything for employment!
-- If you did not vote, you, Boutel, Anquetot and others for a deliberation that illegally attributed rigged markets to whom everybody knows, there would be no question of criminal today! So you, the prison screw, expect to find them at work, your friends!
Clementine does not like this perfidious allusion to his profession, in which it flourishes fully. But Denis Auvert continues:
-- They do not do all for employment but all for themselves and their personal bank accounts! Here, it is the city hall and we have to manage Basseville interests, not those of your friends companies. And today, it deals mainly with municipal finances! And, in what you say on employment, I hope you do not include municipal employees, who are all mates to Boutel and we all noted as they got themselves on your list, after the accident! And then, precision: on the one hundred jobs in the "group" of Anquetot, only one person lives in Basseville, and he is the husband of a municipal employee. All others live outside of the town!
Denis can not find calm again:
-- Nasty Kapo!
An overdrawn expression distorts a little more than its usual grimaces the face of Clementine but Christophe has already taken the floor:
-- If we refuse to complain, we are accomplices. I, personally, do not want to be complicit in this, then I will vote for the complaint. That is all, Lucien.
This time, Clementine wants to conclude, whatever the cost:
-- I, in the statement of Christophe, see words that offend me and are already in the record of the meeting on the first of July last year: those words are "misdemeanour" and "interference". I looked in my dictionary and I saw that these are hard words. I think they do not have to be included in an account of meeting of the council.