Saturday, October 17, 2009


The latest out of town purchase by our locals really puts the frosting on the cake regarding our recent “buy at home” posts to this blog. The local school board just voted to award a 1.5 million dollar construction project to Helena contractor, Dick Anderson Construction. While Dick Anderson Construction is a quality business and has been in business since the late 70’s it is disheartening that a local contractor, who has a reputation of quality equal to that of Anderson, was passed over in this price “negotiated” project because he didn’t meet the school board guidelines relating to stimulus funds. I find it hard to believe that a firm that just received a federal award as a nationally recognized quality contractor for his work at the multi-million dollar border station isn't given any credibility by our local dim-wits at the school system.  Who do they think pays the property taxes to support the school system in Havre?

I would like to point out that Dave Clausen moved his construction business to Havre years ago and has built many large projects not only in Havre and throughout Montana, but even into neighboring states. Mr. Clausen built and pays substantial school taxes on the American Inn, a huge privatly owned Border Patrol station, a large rental storage facility, a large office /shop complex for his business and various other business properties in the Havre area. Dick Anderson, who by the way pays zero local property taxes, doesn’t even have an employee living in Havre.

In addition to the rather heavy property tax payment Mr. Clausen submits each year in support of the local school, city, and county governments, Mr. Clausen supports numerous athletic teams, school programs, and community events. Mr. Clausen also donated much of the labor and materials to make the Havre Town Square a reality. Did Dick Anderson Construction contribute to any of these things? In addition, Clausen Construction employs between 25 to 35 people on a full-time basis, which is no easy task in our recent economy,  that live here and support the community.   Apparently the School Board, not unlike other Havre businesses, thinks that the best deal is only to be had by out of town purchasing. In hindsight, I would venture to guess that Mr. Clausen would have gotten the contract and been the preferred out of town contractor if he only had the good sense to have stayed in Zortman and not moved to Havre.  Apparently he should have expanded his business and tax base in Philips County instead of investing millions of dollars in a community that throws their own taxpayers under the bus every chance they get.

I would encourage our readers to call your local school board to voice your disgust.

On behalf of all thinking Havre residents I offer my apologies to the qualified people at Clausen Construction and would like you to know that most of us do appreciate all you have done for Havre and the surrounding community.


  1. This is appalling. I hope the district voters remember this at the next school mill levy and bond elections

  2. The School Board has responded that no one in attendance at the meeting voiced any concerns about choosing an out of town contractor for this project.

    The next School Board Meeting is Tuesday, November 10th.

    Apparantly local folks have to be at every meeting to voice their opinions before the votes. Can we get some volunteers to "watchdog" the Board by attending the meetings?

  3. The school board is a joke. I thought Lee Christensen and Harvey Kappellen were going to make this board more local? Apparently old Todd Hanson and Gus Sharp were good enough, right? Love this blog!

  4. You need to look a little deeper in Dave Clausen and his pack. Your article makes out to be a saint however he along with coherts Tom Patrick and Terry Schend have stabbed many local businessmen in the back to climb the ladder. Even Dave Clausen's partner (Clausen & Sons) Pat Newton (one Dave will rarely admits he has)has to watch his back. These men operate with no morals (ask their wives and many flings), they blackball other local contractors who won't play THEIR game and you can trust them only as far as you can throw them. Lots of local dollars leave Havre on a regular basis - the School Board has hired these men to do work in the past. This whole issue, all their crying and their bullying is getting old. Congrats to Dick Anderson and better luck next time Dave.

  5. This last post by yet another “anonymous” sounds like a possible school board member to me. What say you Havre Daily Corrector readers?
    I would like to point out that we barely know who these people are, let alone your other unwarranted accusations. We did not intend to portray Dave Clausen as a saint nor did we even mention Patrick, Schend or Newton. The purpose of the post was to simply utter our over-taxed disgust that our local school board had a once in a life time opportunity to “stimulate” our local economy and threw the chance away in their haste to have Dave Mahon’s out of town “cohorts” awarded a contract which send our local dollars down the road. We came to the aid of this local contractor because he is local, he is one of us, and he supports the community, unlike the school board.
    Perhaps the school board would be better served to dream up a plausible excuse for their piss poor decision instead of hurling stones to try and deflect the back-lash of the community which they have been receiving?

  6. I do not think that Anonymous is a member of the Havre School Board. Sometimes in Havre it is just very difficult to say something in public because people in this town, as in most towns, have a way of ostracizing people who voice opinions.

    I think that Anonymous was trying to say that maybe in past years the School Board saw repeated actions by contractors to be billed a different amount for the finished job as opposed to what was bid.

    If there are signed Change Orders that is different but some contractors in this town, while doing bid work, like to suggest changes...and then bill for time and material.

    I don't know if that has happened and I am not making that accusation but sometimes if one reads between the lines, one sees a whole different picture.

    Maybe the School Board didn't feel comfortable saying that but there must be a reason for this as Clausen and Sons has worked for the School Board many times, if I can recall.

    I think that we want to watch the work being done to satisfy the contract on Saddle Butte Drive with the City of Havre.

    I have talked with several contractors. They tell me that they chose not to bid the job because the specifications of the time alotted for completion was 60 calendar days.

    So let's watch this and then maybe we can get an idea of what the School Board is doing without name calling in public.

    I live in that area of town. I recall that work began about the 14th of September so I am going to say that the Notice to Proceed occurred about then.

    I have heard some people say that they have until the end of November. Some say the 9th of December. Why don't you go to the City of Havre and ask to see the specifications.

    I am willing to bet that the job isn't finished by November 15th, the end of November or December 9th.

    It would be nice to clarify what 60 calendar days mean. I would think that it doesn't give weather delays. Most specifications do not specify in calendar days. One wonders what this means.

    Let's watch and see if the contract isn't finished on time if the projects' Liquidated Damages go into effect. Or, will the City of Havre cave and give that contractor more time then what is specified by contract. If that happens then the action is unfair to any contractor who bid or wanted to bid the job.

    If this type of thing keeps happening then I don't fault the entities who own the project to look for other contractors even if that means "going out of town."

    All of us would like to see money in Havre stay in Havre, but I think that the subject needs to be delved into deeper.

  7. Clausen is doing in Glasgow what he is fighting here. why would he do a job in Glagow if it isn't right to give a job to an out of town contractor? It is called hypocracy. WAKE UP YOU WHINY CRY BABY PEEPEE PANTS HYPOCRITS

  8. Again Mark see my other post on this topic in the School Board goes Top Secret post, but you are clearly missing the point here.

    Clausen is a private businessman who can do as he pleases, public bodies on the other hand are supposed to do what is right for their constituency and I have a hard time figuring out how this is good for Havre. No one has disputed the fact that this is not local tax dollars at work, this is stimulus money and so just as has been mentioned here and in the paper before it is not about footage cost, but rather who can do the job. Clearly Clausen can do the job he has done jobs this big and bigger, much bigger all over this state and Wyoming and was just recently presented an award for his building achievements. Nothing against Dick Anderson, I'm sure they are fine contractors, but stimulus monies are supposed to spur the local economy not Helena's economy! The School Board totally missed the ball on this. Maybe the newspaper should conduct a poll and then we'll find out just who supports who! Wah, Wah, Wah!!!

  9. In reading through this issue "many times" I think you, ARBY-WAN KENOBI, are missing the point. Reread 7NTvul, the school board made a decision that they felt was best for Havre Public Schools. They have their reasons and those reason may very well be just what 7NTvul wrote about.

    I learned long ago that not responding to accusations is the higher of the roads to take. Dave Clausen has said nothing about this so either he has taken the high road too or he is a coward and speaks through others such as Debi Schend-Rhines and Tracy Mclain. If 40 plus % of my income came through Dave Clausen I would probably have to speak for him also.

    Put this to rest, it's done, Clausen is working "out-of-town", Dick Anderson is capable of doing the work (yes-some locals other than Schine and Ptrick may actually get part of the job) and if you want to see things happen differently in the future "Run for the School Board next time".

  10. Anonymous, so let me get this straight it is ok to trash Clausen, Patrick, Schend and whomever else you find opposing your views, but its not ok to criticize the school board? Excuse me but just who do you think these people work for? Again, Clausen, Patrick, Schend, etc. are all private businesspeople who can do as they please. Public officials cannot. And I am aware the board feels they've done what's right for us in their own minds, but with all do respect that is not for the Board to decide, but us as constituents. As for running for school board, eh, no, but if they keep up this kind of crap they'll find themselves opposed. Lastly, I don't think this should be put to rest just yet as there are many questions left out there on this one and the Board needs to understand that they work for us and while we cannot change their decisions we will beat it into their heads our displeasure with their decisions. By the way I'm equal opportunity and City Council, Hill Co. Commission, Rep. Warburton, Bergren, Sen. Hansen, etc. We are all watching you too!

  11. Okay ARBY-WAN KENOBI please clarify who is "our" in the displeasure with their (HPS BOARD) decisions? Is it 50 people, 25% of the people, who? And because of that statement you should not be one to accuse me or anyone of "trashing whomever you find opposing your views".

    I am thilled that you are an equal opportunity watchdog with the City Council, Hill Co. Commission, Rep. Warburton, Bergren, Sen. Hansen, etc, it is much easier to be a Monday morning quaterback then getting out there while the game is played. Give some thought to putting yourself out there on a board or commitee, it's not as easy as you might think.

    Public or private is no reason to allow "doing as you please", it hurts the community all the same.

  12. Just going to mention that you all have peeked my interest and I did a google search on clausen/glasgow/jail/etc and here is an article about the jail contract

    And I also learned that Clausen and sons is a Malta Chamber member and I would he is well known around Glasgow as they have done plenty of projects there. He should be well known around here to, so maybe the brilliant people at the school just prefer out of town people because that is where their loyalties lie?

  13. Anonymous, Careful with your comments here. You don't know who I am and I have no clue who you are, but I must assume, as you seem to take personal offense at my comments, that you either are a School Board member or are related closely to one. The "who" refers to the people in this business community who support eachother and our local businesses. As a local businessman myself I find it offensive that the Board would make such a decision and then immediately go on the political defense trying to cover their decision by spinning about Clausen and his business cohorts, which is a complete deflection of the point, which is about this project and its merits and the fact that local contractors should be given points for being local. You either recognize local talent and value, or you don't and clearly the HPS Board does not. Now I am aware that several businesspersons including Chairman Huston disagree with our view of this situation (and they and he is entitled to that opinion), but I would be careful to assume you are in the majority on this one. You go on to assume that I am Monday Morning Quarterbacking on this, well once again careful with you accusations. For the record I am a former schoolboard member myself served two terms several years ago and am in business in this community and I know your decisions are not easy. What you fail to realize is when I was on the board we did several building projects including the major reconstruction of the HHS roof and other buildings, so I am familiar with bidding and whatnot. You can use traditional bidding procedures and achieve the same goals, I know you can because we've done it and you can require on-time, on-budget guarantees in your contract. Again contractors post bonds for this very reason. You have not convinced me that this was in the best interests of Havre and Havre Public Schools. Must we live with your decisions? Yes, but do we have to like it? No and we have the right to come to board meetings and complain. Remember you work for the very people you voted to cut out of this job. So stop acting surprised when people voice their concerns with your decisions. Debi Rhines was very courteous with her requests and the Chamber's involvement is exactly what the chamber is supposed to do. It is part of their mission to work to grow local business. Sometimes Havre doesn't have what you need or offer the services you require and we must choose businesses from other areas, but that is not the case here. You may not agree, but that does not give you or anyone license to disparage Clausen or anyother contractor in this town. Serving as a public official is a privilege which must not be taken lightly and you must be able to take criticism or leave your position. You can't fight all your enemies with fire or you'll get burned. Learn to have some respect for your constituents who pay significant taxes to support this community and this school and be humble when they complain, which is their right to do in this Country or at least it used to be. I am not happy with this decision and I have every right to complain, namecalling and all, I'll take it. I know this because I am not alone, just listen to the buzzing around town and on this blog. By the way great blog!!!!