By JEFF JOBE
Once again the residents of the City of Glasgow will be subjected to another meeting filled with division. Our community’s reputation for political vengeance and outspoken vendettas have all but destroyed our competitiveness.
Even with clear voter directives like we saw last fall, it seems all we get is more political posturing for the mayor’s job or pawns fighting to keep their kings in power.
Whether it is the constant divisive words spewed by Councilman Patrick Gaunce or the barrage of questions coming from Councilman Terry Bunnell you can be certain little is going to happen for Glasgow if the other ten elected council members allow these two to influence them.
Gaunce subscribes to the theory that everything is just fine, and Bunnell seems to want to do his homework in class at the expense of the man this community elected to be Mayor.
Even with national news attention that Glasgow is the poorest town in Kentucky, Gaunce pushes for more debt. Fortunately, Bunnell’s experiences from the local YMCA and his bank have him standing with Mayor Harold Armstrong to protect tax payers from such a terrible liability.
Gaunce doesn’t seem to comprehend the financial hardships many in our community face each and every day. His actions endorse GEPB Superintendent Billy Ray, and his yes-men board members Tag Taylor and Jeff Harned in ignoring the hurt their rates are causing our community.
Gaunce actually sat on the industrial recruitment board (IDEA) for a decade or more, but has no clue how our electric rates compare to other communities competing for industry. He wrote to me in an email, “This is above my pay grade.”
Sadly, weak leadership from Ray and his yes-men has devastated the competitive edge Glasgow once enjoyed.
The Electric Plant Board was created in a progressive move to achieve lower rates than other Kentucky communities. It worked then, but it isn’t working now.
Now our electric company is so poorly managed that our operational, management, and utility costs per customer are significantly higher than the state’s average residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Gaunce, Ray, Taylor, and Harned don’t seem to think this is a problem for the poorest community in Kentucky.
I disagree. I know fair electricity rates help attract and keep a healthy industrial base in our community. I’m equally certain that electricity rates are important to the overall quality of life for all of us. These yes-men place Ray and his job above the well-being of our entire city. Isn’t it time they do the right thing and put our city first?
GEPB Board Chairman DT Froedge has promised to do his part and place the vote to let Ray go, or to vote to remove himself from the board. Froedge said, “I can think of no better way to show this community that I care, and that the people Mayor Armstrong placed on this board care about them; it is time to put this mess behind us and move forward.”
Mayor Armstrong’s most recent appointee is Libby Short. Short is relatively unknown and ran for city council last year. Whether she realizes it or not; Armstrong has given her an opportunity to not only honor his commitment to Glasgow but establish her own.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at sckentucky.com