Washers, dryers stay put until replacements arrive

Washers and dryers loaded on a flat bed at Fort Bragg.

April 5, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
The Army wants energy efficient washers and dryers, but they won't be available until May. That meant troops would be forced to go off post and pay to wash clothes.

Machines that used to be in barracks are now on the back of flat bed trucks, and it's unknown how long the troops will be without them.

"It can be anywhere," said Rickie Day of Edwards and Associates. "A minimum of 14 days to a minimum of four weeks, five weeks."

Day is president of Martin Edwards and Associates, Inc. His local company originally won the washer-dryer contract. It specified his company provide and maintain nearly 3,200 washers and dryers in all of the barracks and community laundry mats on post by May 15.

Day says in a matter of two hours, he lost the $2 million deal because Speed Queen, the washer-dryer manufacturer, couldn't make the machines in a timely manner.

"I just found out today in an e-mail at 3:55 that they could," Day said. "Speed Queen could up their production and have all the equipment here starting on the 18th, and I can meet the 15th deadline."

Day says the new contractor's bid was higher than his, so the government will pay more to install and maintain the same machines.

"And they're not even a North Carolina based company," Day said. "I think they're out from the Midwest. So, now not only are they going to be even further behind in getting the equipment here, in compared to what I found out today when I can have it here. Now, it's going to cost the taxpayers some more money."

ABC11 Eyewitness News asked Fort Bragg leaders about the situation Wednesday. They had no comment and said they're looking into the matter. Day wants the inspector general on post launches an investigation into the way his contract was handled.

Thursday after ABC11's story aired, we received an update about the laundry situation. The new vendor says the washers and dryers will remain in the barracks until the new ones arrive.

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