Weak boards expose us all

Jeff, Jobe Publisher

By JEFF JOBE
jobe@jobeinc.com

Transparency in government at all levels is essential to upholding American democracy. Having access is the only sure way to hold politicians accountable and make sure our citizens and business communities are given the same opportunities. In fact, it’s law.

Too often politicians at all levels campaign on issues or themes that excite us. They point out the flaws of their competitors or make grand promises to sway our opinions to stay in office. Sometimes their campaigning gives a new one a chance. You know the promises. We can all recall a campaign promise made and once in office is never discussed again.

Recently I was fortunate to have been chosen to participate in the first-ever Skype White House Press Conference and this gave me an opportunity to ask a question. I believe second only to being a watchdog for government spending, helping keep politicians focused is my job.

I believe if President Donald Trump, and Governor Matt Bevin had more people asking about job creation, honoring our financial commitments, and assuring us all of equality we would see a stronger country.

My question to President Trump regarding removing the overreaching government regulations on coal, this newspaper’s exclusive interview with Gov. Bevin on job creation, and my questions to Electric Plant Board Superintendent Billy Ray is about keeping our readers informed.

The Barren County Progress has reported that Glasgow’s larger industries are using more energy and saving thousands of dollars while senior citizens on fixed incomes are shutting off air conditioning and heat during peak demands in hope of offsetting higher rates and increased fees. This fact alone should give any sincere and competent council member and mayor enough motivation to ask questions, demand answers, and replace those responsible for creating or allowing such situations to exist.

However, there’s another example of boards surrendering responsibility to citizens. Glasgow’s Electric Plant Board directors have removed themselves from any specific oversight and knowledge about more than $7M spent by EPB Superintendent Billy Ray. They even allowed safeguards protecting us such as spending caps and open meetings laws to be ignored and have made no effort to hold him accountable to tax payers.

Now this EPB board is sitting back and allowing him to question motives and misrepresent facts involving council members, community-minded individuals, and the local newspaper publisher for doing nothing more than asking reasonable questions.
Ray’s recent letter to SET program participants stating that he is protecting their private information from me is a blatant attempt to misrepresent the facts. What I asked to see is specifically how over $7M in grant money was spent in this community.

It is time to fix this problem once and for all and it starts with our mayor and city council putting in place a board capable of managing this man or strong enough to get rid of him. Until our city leaders step up and act on behalf of the citizens who elected them to office, their integrity along with that of every board appointee, employees of the EPB and local contractors doing business as part of the SET program is in jeopardy.

Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at jobe@jobeinc.com. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com

7 Comments

  1. Stephen on July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    The “Good ol’ boy” system in Glasgow is strong. The mayor, Billy Ray, and Board members are only looking out for themselves. They do not care about the citizens of Glasgow. We should not be hiring attorneys to accomplish something that should never have been allowed in the first place. Infotricity has turned into an infotrocity.

    • Loretta on July 13, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      I agree something needs done. My elderly Mom living on a fixed income is turning her air off so she won’t have a high electric bill and she has asthma too, which could cause her to have an asthma attack. I go over there and her place is 81 degrees and I turn her air on. This is so crappy. People outside city limits have cheaper electric bills. So what is the problem, except price gouging.

  2. Judy Lindsey on July 13, 2017 at 7:09 am

    I want to thank you for what you are doing as a small business owner I have to keep my shop comfortable for my customers or close my door our mayor is useless and city council seems to have forgotten why they were elected I hope you get the records you want and expose Billy Ray he needs to go and so does his board

    • Tammy Hughes on July 13, 2017 at 8:42 am

      I agree with Judy Lindsey. Glasgow is drying up! Just ask the realtors and small business owners!! If you want more industry in Glasgow give them tax breaks and people will move back to Glasgow and spend their money and the city will make money and grow again. This electric experiment of Billy Ray’s is hurting everyone! I do not live in Glasgow, but my mother who is a senior citizen and also a small business owner does. I know first hand how stressful and exhausting this situation is to her and the other senior citizens of Glasgow Ky! Thank you Jeff for all your hard work.

  3. Boyd Davis on July 13, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    My electric bill has actually dropped because of the new rates. I have heard of people’s rates just skyrocketing, and don’t believe it. I enjoy just paying for the electricity I use, and not paying extra just to cover someone else’s bill, and nobody should be complaining now because everyone has the opportunity to get on the alternative rate plan, and if they don’t and are still complaining, well all I can figure out is they just like to complain. About the SET, I hope Billy gives you absolutely NOTHING, ESPECIALLY ANY OF MY INFORMATION, it’s none of your business Jeff.

    • Editor on July 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Mr. Boyd, thank you for commenting. First let me say I absolutely respect all individuals and their opinions. I believe with all my heart the key to finding balance is to of course share our opinions but to also be absolutely open and honest.

      So let me restate a fact and not spin. I asked Mr. Ray, EPB attorney Jeff Herbert, and the current board for details of where the money was spent. A portion of this expense I will define as home enhancements. These are such items as new water heaters, thermostats, battery backup systems and perhaps even complete new heating and cooling systems.

      I feel tax payers should be provided details of where our tax dollars go as do most of us.

      Now that my position is clear let’s take a look at yours. Mr. Ray sent letters to individuals who got the enhancements and misrepresented my position just as you. So it appears you got one of those letters, further I am told you have a step-son working at EPB. If this is true, then I feel we should see what you got and to not only prove our dollars were spent in accordance with the law but to protect your son’s integrity as an employee with a possible conflict.

      I believe it would be a bad thing if Electric Plant Board families got all the best enhancements. Until we all see they did not like I said in my commentary; their integrity is in jeopardy.

      Again thank you for your comment and let me say I am as convinced we need to see those expenses now more than ever, your own family members integrity is something I feel worth fighting.

      Respectfully,
      Jeff Jobe

    • david on July 13, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      There is no way anyone is saving money.It is simple.The # of KW’S used during that peak hour is at a $10.00 plus per kw’s and all the other kw’s used during the other 719 hours are less than .10 cents per KW’S.The only way you are saving is that you don’t use any electricity during the day.I save cause I don’t use over 350 kw per month.Yes it hot in the summer and mid 50 in the winter in my house

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