LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DC gas board should be run by citizens
September 29, 2016 Share

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DC gas board should be run by citizens

The following letter was submitted to the Southern Torch by Fort Payne citizen Dale Jackson Sr. If you have thoughts you would like to be considered for print or posted to our website, send them to tyler@southerntorch.com. 

Dear Editor,

As a concerned citizen of Fort Payne, I feel it is my responsibility to make the voting citizens of our city aware of a situation that currently exists on one of the utility boards. Our current city council and mayor take up 4 of the 6 seats allotted to Fort Payne on the DC Gas board. I remember in 1984 when the new mayor and council took office and there was a major effort to replace board seats with citizens rather than elected officials. It appears that has been reversed in recent years. I feel these utility boards need to have business leaders and working people sitting at the table rather than people who get elected and appoint themselves to a board. The current members of the DC Gas board are: Mayor Larry Chesser; Council members Walter Watson (Chairman); Johnny Eberhart; and Randall Ham. They are joined by former council member Richard Pridmore and retired employee Steve Parker. The other three members represent Collinsville and Centre.

While I believe all the board members do a good job, I was troubled to find out that the newly elected members in 2013 approved a measure that increased their pay from $450.00 per month to $1000.00 per month shortly after taking office. This measure was allowed by a change in the state law, which increased the amount board members could receive. This measure was passed in 2009, but the board did not raise pay until taking office in 2012. As stated previously, the current board members increased the pay they receive by over 100 percent. I feel this is cause for concern and should be brought out as we approach an election in a few weeks that will determine the new members appointed to this board.

The newly elected council in Fort Payne will appoint 6 DC Gas board members in November. The council will take office the first Monday in November which is the 8th. As you can see, the new council will have one day to see, organize, and conduct business. That seems like a tough job for anyone, especially when the consequences are so great. I believe it is time to correct this situation and put more citizens on this board rather than elected officials appointing each other to what is essentially a $48,000.00 post. The chairman will receive $60,000.00 over the next 4 years. This pay should be rescinded to the previous level and more citizens added to the board. If that is not done by the newly elected council then I have no faith that they will ever do anything to benefit Fort Payne. The proof is in the pudding. Make us proud again, please.

 

Sincerely,

Dale Jackson Sr.

 

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