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Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter to the editor - Scrapped opportunity

As published in the Record Journal Sunday December 9, 2012

Editor: The Wallingford Law Department’s decision on whether there was any violation of the Charter or the Purchasing Ordinance with respect to the handling of ornamental streetlights indicated no violation occurred and that “neither the Town Charter nor the Purchasing Ordinance prohibits the disposal inoperable/unusable assets.”

The 39 streetlights taken down were fully working at the time, as confirmed by Public Utilities Directory George Adair at a council meeting. In the Record-Journal, Mr. Adair was quoted as saying the division wants the old poles out of circulation. “We don’t consider them suitable. We do not want to perpetuate the use of them . . . We consider them truly to be scrap . . . It’s not something we have interest in at all,” he stated (R-J, 10-24). The lights were viable and working when taken down. They had a value that could have been recovered by another town department as a reused resource or in money received at sale via the surplus list. In the future, other departments may also bypass the process and indicate a “problematic asset” to be designated: “We don’t consider (it) suitable. We do not want to perpetuate the use of (it) . . . We consider (it) truly to be scrap . . . It’s not something we have interest in at all.” Problem solved: send it directly to the scrap hauler for recycle value.

The facts are: the lights were working, no other town department was offered the use of the asset (required by ordinance) and the town didn’t offer the asset up for sale (required by ordinance). At the end of the day, Wallingford lost an opportunity to recover tens of thousands of dollars in asset sales because a process wasn’t followed and there wasn’t proper oversight to catch the error in time.



A little additional from me regarding my prior comments posted here on the site and the letter to the editor itself; there is already a lot of hand-wringing and the like over this effort to try to outline where an inefficiency of use of process occurred and how it cost us money – actually, it was more of the loss of a recoverable asset but at the same time if we need to spend money on future lights it will become an expenditure.

Does the Public Utilities Commission have other things on their plate? Of course they do. Locking down the best way to secure the $60 million in electric power that Wallingford needs certainly takes center stage.

It doesn’t excuse the error. No one gives A-Rod a pass when he blows a game no matter how many home runs he hit the night before.

I have had to keep saying this because the political spin machine keeps turning it – this was never totally about the Public Utilities Commission or the Wallingford Electric Division specifically; the current situation about the departure from process was and it could have been any town department.

I was elected for a number of reasons and one of them was to be a good steward of Wallingford’s tax dollars and resources in total. I see part of that as resource recovery as well.

I will do that job until I am out of seat number eight on the Council Table.

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