Sunday, April 24, 2011

G&E Excesses/Smoking Pigs/Investment

Bumpkin has tossed out various G&E contracts and they are certainly loaded with perks on all levels. I have no idea how this compares with other municipals or public's but my first impression is it exceeds anything in the dreaded private sector (DPS). I still have memories of when I was a worker bee in the DPS and many of the G&E perks were unheard off. Now I can also compare this to the present day with friends and relatives who work in the DPS and the conclusion is the same - the G&E has a great gig going.

The Finance Committee has decided to examine the expense records of the G&E and in an article in the Sunday Enterprise what caught my attention was the expense report of Mr. Triner. This will be interesting since his out of pocket expenses amounted to $1,548 including $2.50 for a Snickers bar. I am not sure exactly what trip (AKA - Vacation) this was for but it may have been the D.C. trip as posted in the latest edition of the G&E bible known as The Messenger. If so I will just love to examine a copy of that report to see how much they spent. I may not know much but one thing I do know is travel bargains and I have enough sense to satisfy my snickers with a stop at a corner store rather than in the hotel.

The bar at $2.50 is just symptomatic of an attitude that treats the rate payers as a piggy bank. We recently had one departed member of the BOS hand out cupcakes to enraged rent payers. How did that work out? We have had a total change in the BOS in the last three years. Complete turn around in personnel including one who was ousted and re-elected once he discovered the facts that those in the cheap seats pay attention to Monday Night Live and also vote. Now the next examination has to be a commission that protects our interests with the G&E. After looking at the contracts and the fact that the commission did not even reprimand the excesses of the manager I have to wonder who is running the show.


Saturday I joined a group called Middleboro Mess Movers as we collected trash from selected areas downtown and one thing is abundantly clear - smokers are incredible slobs. I cannot believe the amount of cigarette butts especially around the town hall. My opinion is that those butts are primarily the results of town employees or those being tortured by various meetings. Do any of them have the slightest concern about picking up after themselves? In the parking lot it also became apparent that the mental process is that if I have to empty my car ashtray that means just toss it on the ground or pavement and let someone else handle the responsibility.

Now the other place I was at was that strip of land across from the VFW and adjacent to the Hideaway and that brings into play another group - lottery scratch ticket players. Place was loaded with the losing tickets. The next item was the excessive amount of cans and bottles in that area. Are these just being tossed out car windows? Are they the result of customers just tossing crap?

Bottom line is it is amazing the amount of trash that is just dumped from folks who are just plain lazy or just don’t give a damn.

I invest in a variety of “things” on a regular basis. I am no expert who will go long or short on the market or even dabble extensively in options but I feel I am educated enough. Years ago I took control of my own portfolio after comparing my selections with the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) who was doing it - at 1.5% win or lose. Some of the CFP’s are masters at “churning” or buying and selling excessively in your portfolio to increase their own commissions. Then top it off with the way you are “directed” to certain mutual funds, annuities and ETF’s. You get the idea. Not many but enough to make one wary. My own opinion is that selecting a series of mutual funds that meet your own investing habits and strategies is rather easy with the volume of information available on the internet and via investment houses.

I have become convinced after watching market trends that a certain level of a con game is going on. A multi-trillion dollar shell game. The latest is the issuance of a warning from Standard and Poor about the credit rating of the U.S.A. being decreased unless debt is controlled. When do they issue this sparking guaranteed to shake the markets pronouncement? Why on a Monday morning just before the U.S. markets open and Europe is in full swing. Poof! The typical over reaction and sell-off.

Now why not do it like a politician delivering bad news? Like on a Friday afternoon? The pol knows the Saturday newspaper is virtually just a few pages of useless information to which no one pays any attention. Why didn’t S&P do the same? Give everyone a good forty-eight hours to digest the info and let the government formulate their litany of excuses on why this is really not bad news.

I see this type of questionable timing happening all to often and just being suspicious in nature of the potential and proven manipulations of the financial markets I have to question the whole process.

A helpful stock picking process is to look at a mutual fund and examine what they invest in and what portion of that investment is their portfolio. This is especially useful if you wish to target a specific area such as health care or energy. You can even weed through the fund selections and narrow it down based on your own level of risk taking.

9 comments:

Mick said...

The article in the Enterprise was priceless! Susanne and I were on the Citizens Environmental Health Impact Committee and when she sinks her teeth into you, WATCH OUT!

bogofree said...

I love the fact that they are looking at everything. I have wanted to take a peek at that expense report ever since the article on it appeared in The Messenger.

The Snicker bar is something. I'll try to be at the FC meeting and see if she has a copy of the expense report. I contacted the G&E over a week ago for a copy and also job descriptions. Never heard back.

Suo Mynona said...

Hubris

anonymous said...

Snickers has nuts. Seems appropriate.

Mick said...

Big drug bust at MHS today. The Police brought in Canines and they found several lockers with drugs and alcohol in them. At least eight students were in serious trouble so far.

chica said...

Stupid choices usually end up with some real negative consequences. Some of those kids may have college pulled from them. Maybe a few more are already court involved. Bringing it to school is beyond dumb.

bogofree said...

Usually a school goes into lock down mode when they bring in the various drug teams. Imagine sitting in that classroom trying to think up excuses for an hour.

bogofree said...

Great preliminary write-up by Suzanne Dube on the G&E budget.

My three points to ponder are.

1. Why is our PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) so low in comparison to most other communities?

2. Why do we pay more per kwh than Braintree and Taunton?

3. Don Triner went to seven conferences in less than a year. I have not seen a detail of his expenses but somehow I suspect Mr. Triner is not exactly traveling cheap.

anonymous said...

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/cops_and_courts/x215604307/Ten-students-caught-in-police-search-at-Middleboro-High-School

Here is the article of the search and destroy mission at the high school. Notice the part about where the previous administration did not support such action. Maybe it's a good thing the swim coach packed his retirement bags and went north to double dip.