Deception stole hope for truth

Jeff Jobe, Publisher

By Jeff Jobe
Publisher
jobe@jobeinc.com

Last week I shared with our online readers that I felt Glasgow could actually breathe a sigh of relief.  We had 7 of 12 city council members agree with our mayor to help fund a true independent consultant regarding the Tennessee Valley Authority 20-year agreement.

I went so far as to say no matter what the consultant recommends I was ready to accept it and put the last several years of drama behind me.  Seeing our mayor and city council negotiate a resolution was good for our community. Hearing several opinions helped explain various points of view; some we can understand, some we can support, others we disagree and a few that just made it clear they didn’t want an independent opinion.

When the smoke cleared and the vote was taken, a strong majority agreed with Mayor Harold Armstrong, the advice conveyed by City Attorney Danny Basil and his shared discussions with the Kentucky League of Cities.  It seems the path they chose to take was because it was the right way to do it.

Yet this wasn’t good enough for Glasgow Electric Plant Board Chairman Tag Taylor as he determined on his own, independent of the GEPB board attorney Ron Hampton, that it just wasn’t right for these elected officials to offer their opinions on such matters and how dare they even suggest helping to pay for something they hadn’t officially decided to do.

Ironically, both Taylor and board member Libby Pruitt Short were outspoken supporters of hiring a consultant 30-days ago in a previous meeting and hinted for support in getting help to pay for it.  That meeting had an entirely different tone and clearly something made this personal in the past 30-days and our community got caught up in a temper tantrum.

I’ll accept some of the angry energy thrown at our community because my company upset the duo since that time.  I’ll accept my role in this temper tantrum we all witnessed but I want our readers to know exactly why.

Since the October meeting, we followed up on a lead from three of Short’s friends indicating a possible conflict of interest and worry associated from an incident where her son’s girlfriend was driving an SUV and collided with EPB Superintendent Billy Ray while he was riding his bicycle.  We reached out to Short and asked why she didn’t disclose it.  Taylor was furious and refused to confirm or deny if he had knowledge of it.

We also followed up on an interview that was requested by Taylor, which manifested itself through a podcast accompanied by Short.  In this podcast the tone had started to change for them as Taylor went on and on about why TVA was the only choice for Glasgow because of the tremendous expenses associated with power line upgrades.

He claimed that with his calculations, he found the costs to be in excess of $100-million for line upgrades to what EPB currently has access to because of TVA.  He went so far as to say using other providers would be like “driving to Florida on a spare tire.”

I personally reached out to one of those spare tire providers and found that they have numerous industrial parks, subdivisions, and even some of our larger factories being serviced at this time right here in Barren County.

However, the breaking news aspect in this conversation was that I had learned the East Kentucky Power Company has the same lines Taylor referenced actually calculated in their 2020-21 budget for upgrades.

I immediately shared this contact information so that Mayor Armstrong and Taylor could confirm independently.  One would think our community saving the estimated $100M needed to secure our residents the 20-30% savings would be something the chairman of the board would be happy about. Yet again, Taylor spewed with disrespect for attempts to get him help for problems he said would stop us from moving from TVA.

The third and final dilemma I was made aware of was the impression being sold that our community would lose the opportunity to secure a certain company if we didn’t sign the 20-year contract.  I reached out to state government and the actual property owner himself.   Each said there is no such demand or threat at all.  Again, I gave Taylor, Short, and Armstrong this information prior to the Tuesday EPB board meeting.

Taylor ignored the wishes of the elected officials we chose to serve us, and he and Short ignored the elimination of expense of $100M needed to secure their customers a tremendous savings once the current 5-year notice was given.  But the dastardly part of this most recent EPB board meeting was that we got to see what hate and anger looks like as they could have quite possibly jeopardized our community and a private property owner the opportunity to partner with a fine company because he spoke openly about something that was never intended to be made public.

They rushed a vote simply because they know Jeff Harned’s term expires at end of the year and his vote was needed to protect the status quo.
This was the most blatant example of how deception stole any hope of truth I have ever witnessed.   A sad day for Glasgow.

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 sckentucky.com

4 Comments

  1. Joe Reid on December 6, 2019 at 12:40 am

    I really don’t get it?!?! Let’s atleast hear from an outside council. I am in the group that I honestly feel is the majority at the moment that no longer trusts the EPB under Billy Ray’s management. They have to know that a lot (if not the majority of the citizens of Glasgow) no longer have faith in the EPB leadership. At the least they could have gone with the outside council. Unless.. They knew it would not go in the direction they wanted to go. As a citizen I can only think that is what they thought. Tell me if I am wrong and please please please tell me why…

  2. Judy Scott on December 7, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    I spoke with Shelia Short this past week.
    I introduced myself to her, I told her I was very disappointed in her vote. She said she understood,
    but after being in the closed session there was no way
    she could not vote to sign the TVA contract.
    If that closed session was so Persuasive it should
    Have been public!
    Early on in this process I was told my 20 year old appliances probably needed upgrading, since I couldn’t afford that I have done all I can to cut my electric use down. A year after the changes were made we were all told since the EPB customers usage had gone down, that the cost per kilowatt had to go up. Then the EPB board was advised that cable cost must go up because
    Cable companies were charging EPB more. AND by the way they anticipate the internet cost to them will be going up within the year, so might as well go ahead and increase that too! THIS is how the EPB handles the board meetings. Negative feedback is not expected and certainly not encouraged!
    SO ! In order to continue to live in my home, it’s a modest home, but it’s paid for. I am now, at age 71 years working 20 hours a week. I’m working so I can afford my EPB bill. It does include my cable with a DVD box and internet. I’m grateful to be able to work the 20 hours a week. I’m lucky to have this. There’s days my ‘old’ body doesn’t feel like getting up and out but to keep my TV and lights on I must do it.
    The EPB board doesn’t take into consideration many of their customers can’t work to help with their bills.

  3. Larry Eaton on December 8, 2019 at 11:15 am

    There needs to be a through investigation conducted by a law enforcement agency to look into ethics and deception by a majority of the board and billy ray. Also while this is happening there needs to be a investigation into a few of the city council members considering the fact they was in the background into unethical conduct concerning the epb. But who can you trust to investigate

  4. Brenda on December 8, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    I am very pleased you have honestly told it.

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