PUD No. 2 Ignorance, Unaccountability Continues
By Ron Craig
To the Editor:
Tokeland, a multi-million dollar, power extension project has been underway since about 2004. PUD #2 Management wants to extend power to Tokeland, which is already being served by Grays Harbor; and then to Osterville, and Bay Center, as a back-up or loop connection. It’s unknown how much has already been spent or the total amount needed to complete. The commissioners were scheduled to approve bids for just the underground cable to Tokeland, for bids of about $7 to $15 million, not installed.
At the PUD Commissioners meeting, I asked the commissioners five questions: Describe the Tokeland Projects’ need, scope, costs, all phases, and projected costs. Commissioner Swanson had an honest answer, “I don’t know, and I will not support this project until I know.”
Commissioner’s Thompson and Hatfield didn’t have an answer except it was their duty to provide power to rural areas. Hmmm, but all these places already have power? -Then Commissioner Thompson lost her composure again and attacked me. I had no right to be critical of her…some would say this was a bitch slap, but not me. Both commissioners reported they had been briefed many times by the staff, could not recall what was briefed. Wonderful!
Commissioner Hatfield said his job was just a, “policy maker.” When I then asked why you approve bids, contracts, etc…no answer.
Commissioner Thompson opened a Public Meeting on fee increases, and after minimum discussion among the commissioners a motion was made, seconded, and passed. I called for a point of order: I asked how can you have a public meeting without allowing input from the public? Well, then the public was allowed to speak, but the increase was already approved. Great!
There were a number of follow-up questions on issues brought before the commissioners for the past 4½ months. Commissioner Thompson took it upon herself to admonish those who kept raising these issues. “These happened years ago, has nothing to do with her, at this point what difference it makes, and we need to move on.” These words have a very familiar ring.
Seriously, this attitude by Commissioners Hatfield and Thompson raises a question on their honesty and trust. We elect them and expect honesty and trust to flow down from them. They are accountable for the honesty of the staff. Yet, they have taken no leadership in trying to get to the bottom of these alleged frauds.
South Bend, Wash.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on www.hometowndebate.com 6/19/13. If you would like to respond to this story go to hometowndebate.com