Havre Daily News
Havre taxpayers won't be footing the $800 bill for T-shirts ordered for city workers that bear one of Havre Mayor Bob Rice's slogans. Citing political backlash and his own naivete, Rice said he is paying for the T-shirts himself.
Rice also said that bumper stickers with the slogan "Get'er Done Mayor Bob" will be removed from city vehicles.
Several City Council members had questioned the appropriateness of the city purchasing "Get 'er Done" T-shirts and displaying the slogan on city vehicles, particularly now that Rice is a candidate. The Republican mayor filed on Monday to run for a second term. He will face Democratic City Council member Pam Hillery in the November election.
"Sometimes I get tunnel vision on a project and I don't see all the ramifications," Rice said. "Sometimes you don't see the forest through the trees."
The Havre City Council was to have voted Tuesday on whether the city should pay for the T-shirts.
"Under the circumstances, (the bill) had to be paid for by someone other than the city, whether that's Bob, Gary Schaub or Bob's campaign," Hillery said. "He's done the right thing."
Rice said the shirts were ordered by deputy director of public works Gary Schaub and that Schaub had consulted him about the decision beforehand. The logo on the shirts is "Get 'er Done" but doesn't include Rice's name.
Rice said he asked members of the business community and the president of the union representing city public works employees before the shirts were ordered and none had any complaints. Public works employees had asked for a work T-shirt that was cooler than the plastic orange vests they are now required to wear. The money for the 113 shirts was to have come from the city's water and sewer fund.
The order for the shirts will still be filled by a Helena printing company, and will be sold to city employees who want them, Rice said Thursday.
He said he is selling them for $8.
Rice said the stickers and slogan are not affiliated with his re-election campaign. "Get 'er Done" is a slogan intended to inspire teamwork among city employees, he said, and was developed before he decided to run. Rice's campaign slogan, "Actions not Words" is being printed on T-shirts at Master Sports now, with stickers and other campaign materials soon to follow.
Tom Farnham, chair of the City Council's Finance Committee, said he's satisfied with the resolution.
"That's appropriate," Farnham said about Rice paying the bill. "I think it's only fair."
Farnham said he had no problem with Rice selling the shirts to those city employees who are interested.
Hillery said that if Rice sells the shirts for employees to wear while working, that is still a problem.
"I don't think it would be appropriate for city employees to wear them while working," she said. "People should not campaign on the clock."
City Council member Allen "Woody" Woodwick said he thinks it's "a pretty good deal" that Rice paid the bill, but thinks city employees wearing T-shirts with the slogan venture into an ethically murky place.
"I don't think they should be wearing them at work," he said.
Rice said he will go order another batch of safety T-shirts for city employees at Master Sports today. The shirts will read "Safety First," he said, and the city will pay for them.
Rice said later this morning that he has sold all of the "Get 'er Done" T-shirts, mostly to local businesses that bought them for resale.
Rice said local businesses that offer the shirts for sale will give a discount to city employees who buy them.