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Library suit mediation slated for Aug. 30

POULSBO — What seemed like an impossibility just six months ago is finally coming true as the city will soon move into mediation over its long-running library furnishing issue.

Flagg Construction of Kent filed suit against the City of Poulsbo after renovation work at the Valborg Oyen Library was finished in January 2001. The company claimed the city stuck it with about $130,000 in furniture costs that were not included in its contract to build the library. Poulsbo claims the contract clearly indicates two types of furnishings for the facility — recycled pieces from the old library the city would supply and the rest of the furnishings that were the contractor’s responsibility.

“It’s just a matter of interpretation of wording in the contract,” City Engineer John Stephenson said.

The two sides decided to try mediation, which is a non-binding meeting between the parties involved and a facilitator. The purpose of the meeting is to try and reach an agreement outside of a courtroom.

In January 2002, Stephenson told the Herald that scheduling a time for mediation between the two sides had become very difficult and he doubted a meeting would actually take place. Stephenson said, after a great deal of effort, a mediation date has finally been set for Aug. 30.

“It’s an attempt to try and reach an agreement instead of having a jury do it,” he explained. “It’s worth a try. If we can reach an agreement it would probably save both sides money in the long run.”

Mediation is expected to only last the one day and Stephenson said the city is hopeful an agreement can be reached. Any agreement reached during mediation would still need approval from the Poulsbo City Council and Capital Facilities Library Board, Stephenson added.

However, if mediation is unsuccessful a trial date will be set.

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