Friday, May 13, 2011

Public Execution Of MG&E

I will say that the MG&E management and Commissioners did display a modicum of survival skills the other night when faced with an onslaught of pointed questions. Chief inquisitor, Lincoln Andrews, had them - to use a boxing term - on the ropes especially “The Traveling Man” Don Triner. If this was a boxing match the referee would have quickly brought it to a halt and declared the collection from the MG&E victims of a TKO. “Consultants” and all.

Mr. Andrews showed he is capable of roasting a lot more than the editor of the Gazette and he continued a verbal execution that was all based on the MG&E putting on a display that was a mile wide and an inch deep. The tap dancing that took place by the MG&E collection that would have made BoJangles Robinson proud except the end result was what would expect when one side has the high ground, facts and a pile of angry ratepayers - to use another famed boxing term - No Mas. Capitulation. MG&E in full retreat. Cute graphics, double-speak and pricey consultants didn’t quite cut it.

What eventually came down was a moratorium on travel, more rate reductions and an increase in PILOT as the MG&E was in high profile damage control. IMO this will only increase the blood lust as the operations and especially contracts will face even more detailed scrutiny by those who have this apparently bloated “Public Municipal” firmly in their target zone. I’m sure the inner sanctum at the MG&E is hopeful that just maybe all those concessions will get the hounds off the scent for a bit but I suspect they’ll be more questions raised and more and more.

Now Commissioner Joseph Ranahan and a local resident, Brian Giovanoni, mentioned that any increase in PILOT is tantamount to a tax increase. Even Sandra Richter - the 110K spokesperson for MG&E - put the kibosh on that train of reasoning. This will just be a bit more out of their stated 4% profit. What was shocking was that one - Mr. Ranahan - actually takes up space on the Commission and didn’t comprehend this. Maybe Mr. Ranahan can answer why - on his watch - Braintree has about 35% more in revenues than Middleboro and pays a PILOT of 1.5M to Middleboro’s $400,000 while keeping rates 2.7 cents lower than the MG&E? How about a little less travel and a bit more diligence in what we placed our trust in - that the commissioners would protect our investment.

What is clear is that the excessive travel produced little of value to the rate payers and a nice plum “bonus” or sorts to elected officials. Mr. Triner can always return to the DPS (Dreaded Private Sector) and once again get the luxury he apparently craves.

But the MG&E can proudly state “We’re #1!” in the all important category of executive pay for a municipal as headmaster Granahan pulls in top dollar and not far behind is the rest of the illustrious management team that ranks either in the middle or very high depending upon how one wishes to include/exclude personnel in municipal comparisons. As Disraeli once said about three kinds of lies: “Lies….damn lies…and statistics.” Depends on what they wish to include and how they wish to interpret or frame it. So far it’s not flying since the third rate dips**ts that comprise Bub Town fully realize a pile of horse droppings when they hear it. All the consultants in the world could not rescue Humpty Dumpty Granahan. Say, how about that 7M?

Next is those gas rates and the bottom line is their bottom line will soon be a bit less since this is a collective “Gocha” and that will also see a decrease. I’m sure they were just ready to announce that even without a public outcry - yeah, right.

Of course the promise of further rate reductions (bribes) is on the agenda as they make an ill fated attempt at damage control. Seemed local Rich Young didn’t really buy into the all of a sudden generous mode of the MG&E. My, Rich, you are such a skeptic! You actually think they would have some concern over lowering a rate that could/should have been lowered so that some may have actually afforded to occasionally pay their bills during a harsh winter? And, yes, what better time to have a reduction than in the warmer weather.

Now - to follow up on Rich Young - how about a rebate? Seems the locals have been paying a wee bit more than we should have and probably for years. Maybe that 7M could be 5M?

However all this public scrutiny has had a very positive impact as the MG&E will now come to their collective senses (I hope) and actually work for the owners and the Commissioners will actually be somewhat independent and oversee rather than be a compliant partner. Gee…why did it take a new guy - Mike Solimni - to get the webs of amnesia wiped away?


Suo Mynona said...


Never once did Mr. Triner tried to muffle me despite my aggressive attitude. I truly commend him and thank him.


The PowerPoint presentation provided by the MG&E staff would have received a "D" at any business school. That is not an exaggeration.

They claimed it was the best they could provide on one month's notice. They tried to obfuscate statistics with acronyms and skewed statistics.

As far as a public execution goes, these people are professionals that are highly compensated by the town.

The substance was VERY simple and my questions were very simple. They knew it and I knew it. I just happen to have the trained ears to weed through the disingenuous representation of the provided simple information. Only the terminologies were esoteric.


The real blame cannot be placed at Mr. Granahan's or Mr. Triner's feet. I take blame and others in town should as well. We stopped watching. It is very easy for the most altruistic people to go astray if unchecked. I will still give them the benefit of the doubt for a very short period of time.

To be clear, I believe we are fortunate to have a town owned utility. Even the most altruistic people can go astray if unchecked. It happens to most of us at some point in our lives.

I do think Mr. Triner has the makings of a good chairman – it is clear no one else wants the title. Mr. Triner just needs to refocus his knowledgeable background to guide the ship more effectively.

Suo Mynona said...

Mike S deserves the credit for getting us to finally watch more closely.

North Slope Rigger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bogofree said...

I would not be as generous as you are in accepting blame since we did put our collective trust in their hands - commissioners and management.

Going astray is where a checks and balance system should come into play between commissioners and management. This is not an individual but a good number of folks. That checks and balance did not happen.

This issue has now forced them to the job we hired/voted them to do. They have already taken the necessary steps to correct what got them in this mess. See if it continues.

anonymous said...

Was this on TV?

Now they lower the rates so they were overcharging me all along?

Back to the Bruins.

bogofree said...

After that first period I would not want to watch.

Suo Mynona said...

The transition from the Comcast based to our town run cable broadcasts is not complete and there are some formatting issues.

I am sure Karen Foye (a town gem) will get it on TV as soon as possible. I am equally sure Bogo will post the broadcast times.


Personally I find most of the selectmen meetings and stuff boring. However, this particular G&E is a must see for all of you that love to watch the televised meetings.

I may have been generous as Bogo said, but I am personally involved and a little more biased.

Granahan is paid $189,000 and Sandra Richter is paid $101,000. They desperately sought to withhold public information. Townspeople expect true performance for those kind of dollars. They should hear the bell tolling, they can quite the bell. They need to go into all out serve the people mode.

I have made a request for information. it has now been 5 weeks and I have received nothing. They had those files close at hand when trying to keep information from us, I am now wondering if they fired up the shredding machine.


The commissioners took their eye off the ball. Personally I feel the elected commissioners should meet more than one clarking time a month! It is next to impossible to manage anything when meeting for 1 hour per month.

My experience is with the Planning Board and BoS -- which meet every week. Both boards are very involved with what was going on in the respective departments and provide direction and assessments to the department head(s).

Meeting one hour per month to guide a 47 Million dollar operation is rubber-stamp lip service IMO

LMAO said...

An on target analysis by Suo and my opinion is a gigantic mea culpa is coming from main street.

The management has a good thing going and that was and is under examination including some extremely generous employee contracts.

Times are tough in Middleboro and we are not a wealthy community and in our budget crunch a fair share is expected. Has the G&E been giving their fair share? Not in my opinion.

anonymous said...

Thank you for the TV explanation. I knew there was to be a switch over from Comacsat to more local control.

The Bruins just plain sucked.

bogofree said...

I'm expecting the TV quality - especially sound - to improve. BB was explaining to me some of the new technology that was being implemented and that actually put be to sleep while jogging.

I am especially harsh on the MG&E and especially Chair Triner. I think Rich Young was quite on target about folks who paid who could have used assistance of lower rates while questionable practices were happening.

I found Granahan's self serving apology and let's move on irritating. What I really admire is that some have taken a real hardball approach in the questioning and even more so the MG&E crowd have stood their ground and taken the broadsides. This did not end up like the casino issue with an us against them. Despite the friction I can easily see everyone at the Central enjoying pizza and beer.