$igns of our time$

Sign painters seeing red
As election nears, DA Gibson likes his name big -- but so is the price tag

Putnam Pit editor

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --District Attorney General William Gibson spent more than $1,500 to paint his name and information about services provided Dog X says-Seem the handwriting is on the wall--about $1500 d0llars worth. I could have painted my whole house for less than 10 bucks at his Cookeville office on the sides of the building that houses it at 145 S. Jefferson Ave.

Although he was not required to put the job out to bid, sign painters around town were raising their eyebrows at the price he paid -- about double what other firms would have done it for.

There's no question the sign is striking -- it'll get your attention about as quick as a cavity search on a cold morning.

Teresa Bostic, an owner of Bilbrey Sign Inc., said she normally bids jobs at about $4.50 a square foot, and that the job was worth about $600.

When she learned that Gibson paid Gerry Chapel of Chapel Signs and Designs more than $1,500, she said, "Oh, my goodness, you've got to be kidding."

She questioned why Gibson's name was the prominent part of the sign, which is painted on the north and south sides of the building.

"I don't see that added anything. As a professional, [the sign] should be to tell it is the district attorney's office, not who the district attorney is."

Rodger Luegge, of The Sign Shop, said that if the painter got $800 for the job it would be good pay.

Luegge also was not offered the opportunity to bid on the job.

When told how much Gibson paid, he said, "I guess if I bid I would have got it."

But there is a lighter side to the story. The scales of justice were tipped instead of balanced when Chapel painted it, and she had to repaint them. Chapel said "Bill worked very closely with us to design the sign."

The joke around the Justice Center was: Whose side were they tipped in favor of?