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home : opinion : columnists November 25, 2015

11/21/2012 3:00:00 PM
PUD leadership failure
Dear Editor.

Multiple tragedies were involved with the firing of Joe Jarvis and John Smith.

As early as 2005, the Chelan PUD Commissioners and management began receiving information indicating the Fiber Optics program was a financial disaster and would significantly increase the capital and operational debt if continued. The warnings were ignored.

The Chelan PUD, at times, places marginally competent people in leadership positions involving high tech projects. Smith should never have been appointed manager of the fiber program. This was a PUD management mistake not a mistake by Smith. Financial problems with the fiber program started long before Jarvis was involved. Jarvis was never trained nor had specific skills in financially analyzing and overseeing the complexities of a fiber communication development.

The Editorial Staff of the Wenatchee World was given information outlining the certainty of the financial disaster with the fiber optic program. The Editorial Staff did nothing to thoroughly investigate these warnings. After all, everyone loves fiber.

Chelan PUD added $2.4 million dollars to their debt due to incompetence of the in-house legal department concerning the firing of Jarvis and Smith. An estimated increase in capital fiber debt of $50 million dollars occurred in the years after the Chelan PUD was warned of this financial disaster.

This $52.4 million debt accumulation was the responsibility of the general manager and risk manager at that time as well as the in house legal department and commissioners. None of these leaders were held responsible for their failings.

The greatest tragedy is the Chelan PUD continuing to use financial reserves to cover their mistakes. The utility belongs to the public but the public seldom understands or even cares what happens to their investment. The elected PUD Commissioners never accept any responsibility and silence any questioning within their membership.

Werner Janssen


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