Friday, January 27, 2012

PMUA - Major Developments Require Residents Attention

The Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority settlements with "retired" executives Eric Watson and David Erwin are getting a lot of attention. Plainfield residents are on the hook for $1 million because the PMUA Commission decided on this settlement instead of leaving the decision in the hands of an arbitrator.

Plainfield is being treated by the Commission and these executives as a deep pocket. As a long time member of the Council finance committee I can say without hesitation that Plainfield's pockets are small and are developing holes. I put in a call to the Governors office and spoke to a Richard DeRose to learn if there is any recourse for Plainfield residents. I am waiting for a response.

There is another current PMUA issue that is even more important in my opinion and is not getting much attention. The contract of interim Executive Director Duane Young is expiring this spring. He is seeking a permanent appointment. He got off to a good start, re-organizing the central office, holding the solid waste rates level and lowering the sewer rates. He deserves the opportunity to continue as PMUA's leader. He is bringing a professional style of management that is sorely needed.

The PMUA was created to serve our residents with the best services possible at the lowest cost. Based on comments made by commissioners in public meetings, I believe there is confusion about the mission. Fulfilling the long time promise to bring outside business would be a good thing if it offsets the cost to residents but not if it is for the benefit of a few entrepreneurs.

Duane Young's performance should be judged on the quality and cost of services. Outside business development is just a small part of that. And rates can be reduced in other ways than revenues from new business ventures. I think it is in Plainfield's best interests to support Duane Young as he restores credibility and efficiency to an important Plainfield service organization. Speak to your PMUA commissioners. They decide who will lead the PMUA. They are:

Malcolm Dunn
Alex Toliver
Tracey Brown
Carol Brokaw (has already expressed support for Duane Young)
Harold Mitchell (has already expressed support for Duane Young)
Cecil Saunders (alternate commissioner)