Friday, June 28

WATER COMPANY AUDIT

          There has been a bit of chatter lately about the water company audit. People seem to be wondering what’s been going on. They’re thinking Hmm, we gave the Finance Committee 25 thousand dollars and total authority to look into the financial matters of the WC; why aren't they doing anything to move forward. Well before you start gathering in front of the FC members’ houses with torches and pitchforks please know that the process has started. The newly appointed members of the FC have formed and are starting to deal with the details involved in auditing the WC practices and finances. I don’t know about you but I’ll be following close and keeping their feet to the fire. You know what I figured out? If you want to hold someone’s feet to the fire you have to be close enough to grab their feet.
          The FC as now formed is as follows; Chairman Laura Allen and Vice chair Michael Bandzierz. In a surprising turn of events Jonathan Beattie once again narrowly avoided being appointed secretary. He quickly donned his best deer in the headlights expression and the baton passed right by him and went to a newly appointed member Tom Berkel. Mr. Berkel has a wealth of experience to draw from and he can adjust his schedule to fit the FC needs. Ralph Novec and Ed (Rocky) Scarbro are working hard in the background. We’re indeed fortunate to have such a group of people to overlook the financial wellbeing of the town.
Mr. Berkel and Bandzierz were assigned to the subcommittee that will be overseeing the details of the audit and dealing directly with the auditors. This audit process will take awhile and will encompass many facets of the inner workings of the water company and the town hall as it relates to the WC. We will all have to be patient as the process goes forward. As Laura is quoted as saying, “the wheels of government grind slowly”.
          The first order of business will be to find an auditing firm to do the actual audit. Because the cost of the audit is over 5 thousand dollars the FC has to get at least three bids. This means interviewing several firms and deciding which will best suit our needs. Once the firm is chosen they can get down to business. The FC will go over the parameters of the investigation with the auditing firm and help lay out a plan. Then the subcommittee, Tom and Mike, will follow the progress at arms length. All this will presumably be done in open meetings and we’ll be kept updated on the progress. Once this task is underway the auditors will do their job and in the end we should have a good idea what caused the dysfunction in the WC and how to best run it in the future.
          Just because the WC is being dealt with doesn’t mean we should let up on any of the other issues facing the town. In addition to the WC audit we have the water commissioners balking at turning over the billing to the town hall. The water commissioners claimed that the BoS were dragging their feet. The  BoS have their hands tied because they can’t compel the elected water commissioners to turn over the billing to the town hall. Does the book Catch 22 come to mind?
I know there was going to be a special article on the town meeting warrant to direct the commissioners to transfer the billing to town hall. However, because we were duped into believing that the issue was settled, there was no need to put it on the warrant. We won’t make that mistake again. Now the water commissioners are again at odds with the BoS. There’s going to be a pissing match and we all know who is going to win.  Personally I don’t care who does the billing as long as the bills go out on time and with accurate figures. We’ll have to keep a close eye on collections.
Let’s not forget that we have the chief of police fiasco to deal with as well. This issue brings with it a ton of potential law suits which may be filed against the BoS and or the town. As a side note, I can’t understand why the BoS are trying to dismiss the Chief for such a high turnover of officers when they themselves have lost almost half of the police dept since Chief Bucknell left. While Chief Bucknell may have been averaging 4 officers per year; these people have been losing an officer about every month. Maybe I’m missing something but I just don’t get it. Who’s zooming who? I guess we’ll have to wait until the hearing on July 8th to find out if we have Chief Bucknell back on duty or a S load of lawsuits. Tough choice, I wonder if anyone has figured out how much we’ve spent on this debacle already.

There is so much to say about the plight of Hans and Jeremy and what went down at the police dept but it will have to wait until the next post. I’ll also have to address Mr. Scribbler’s inaccuracies at some point. Well, I hope you’re enjoying your summer; it’ll soon be over. 
KevinZurrin

11 comments:

  1. Thanks Kevin. I always appreciate your take on things. Keep 'em coming...

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  2. Kevin,when are you going to get your facts straight on Reena Bucknell as she lost many over 100 police officers in 14 years,was not wanted in Lenox,documented misappropriation of funds,still on the board at BCC,unauthorized private use of police vehicles, the list of inproprieties goes on and on.Hopefully all will surface on the 8th.See you there.

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  3. Anonymous
    I don't know where you are getting your facts but to my knowledge 60 is the count over 15 years. At least this is the number that has been published. See the accounts in the Record and the Police Dept study. If you find my facts are incorrect you are welcome to dispute them. However, I would like to see the source of your facts.

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  4. Let's keep in mind that many left to further their careers. Often these officers used Egremont as a first job and went on to larger departments and higher pay, not unlike any business or career-minded individuals. It is also important to remember that the Police Chief does NOT hire or fire. That is done by the Selectboard ONLY! The Selectboard also hires with a one-year probation period, when a number of officers were not re-appointed. All of the officers were given a chance to speak to the Selectboard before the decision is made. To put it all on the Chief is both false and unfair.

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  5. Egremont is starting to become a bad joke....there is at least one unflattering article in the weekly paper every week.

    Thanks Kevin for keeping us informed...citizens of Egremont, pay attention!

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  6. I don’t think Egremont is becoming a joke; it’s more that with all the exposure we have been the butt of a few jokes. As the laughter dies we still have to deal with the reality of fixing the problems that have been brought to the surface. Every small town deals with this sooner or later.

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  7. You're being too kind Kevin. Many problems have been exposed without appearing in the papers. We're not a joke, just sad. The problems lie with this Selectboard entirely. Their vindictiveness, cronyism, lack of management ability and their caring more for themselves rather than the town is at the heart of it.

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  8. Amen to Sat.6/29 3:51pm. The motto of our Selectmen is " my mind is made up- don't confuse me with the facts(the truth)."

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  9. We can try, individually or collectively, to rectify some of this insanity, but the only way to deal with it comprehensively is to "throw the bastards out." Each of us has to (1) get involved, (2) come to town meetings and (3) vote at town elections.

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  10. Unless we hold a recall vote on all of the selectmen at once we can't throw the bastards out. However, your three suggestions are right on the money. We and those involved in OneEgremont are creating the awareness that is needed to motivate the people to get involved, come to meetings and vote at the town meeting and election.

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