PUD feathers some nests

The last few days before retired Pacific County Public Utility District No. 2 Commissioner Ron Hatfield left office in Dec. 2016, he completed a succession plan with Commissioner Diane Thompson to secure Jason Dunsmoor as the new general manager of the PUD#2. It also provided Doug Miller, present general manager, a golden parachute when he retires in 2018. Commissioner Mike Swanson wanted to postpone a succession plan and any major business decisions until the new commissioner was sworn in, rather than allow Hatfield to decide the next four to six years as a lame duck.

Before there was a vote on the succession plan, Swanson asked that the following statement that was sent to General Manager Doug Miller via email be placed on the record. “Doug, it has been 5 days since our executive session and it is 2 days before the general election. I want to share my thoughts on the public perception of appointing Jason Dunsmoor as the new General Manager. No matter who is elected to Ron’s District 3 position, it will be the first time in 28 years that the voters/ratepayers/owners of Pacific County PUD#2 have had someone different representing them. Elections matter, and I believe that the voters feel that this position matters. The new commissioner will be one of Jason’s bosses and should be involved in the selection of a new General Manager. I don’t feel that appointing Jason to the position, before the new commissioner is sworn in, is fair to the ratepayers or Jason.”

With Hatfield and Thompson, Miller had the two votes he needed to do anything he wanted. Until Commissioner Dick Anderson was elected, Swanson was always the odd vote out. The reason they developed the succession plan and appointed Dunsmoor was that they knew Swanson and the new commissioner would seek outside applicants for the position and interview at least three (including Dunsmoor) — a prudent step for any important position opening!

Although Anderson had no intention of firing Miller, Miller had a paragraph added to his succession plan to protect himself. The paragraph reads:

Should the General Manager’s employment with the District be terminated without cause, before the Termination Date, the General Manager will be allowed to retire through PERS with the help of the District and be allowed medical, dental, vision, prescription, and life insurance benefits for himself and any dependents as is practice today for non-union employees that sever employment with the District and retire. Furthermore, due to the hardship that would be placed on the General Manager due to this action by the District, the District will pay the General Manager a one-time lump sum settlement of two times the General Manager’s annual gross salary within one month’s time after the date the General Manager leaves employment with the District.

Miller is scheduled to retire in February 2018 and, with his accumulated sick leave and annual leave, will leave his position in October of this year.

Malcolm McPhail


Throw the rascals out!

Guilty of jaw-dropping incivility and mind-boggling obstructionism, the 115th Congress’s approval rating is still lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. Americans continue to rank cockroaches, head lice and root canals higher.

So when I discovered that, according to one recent poll, 60 percent of Americans believe we should fire every member of Congress, I created a simple proposal.

Throw all the rascals out. Abolish the elected 115th Congress and replace it with a national lottery. All seriousness aside, it’s a simple idea.

It’s time to thin the herd and eradicate representatives, psychopaths and fence-sitters, all three of whom may be the same person, who’ve tossed facts, science, responsibility and accountability out the window.

Divide 326 million (current population) by 535 (number of representatives and senators). Odds that one of you can be among the lucky recipients of a $174,000 per year salary, plus perks, are just one in 609,000.

That compares favorably to your chance of winning the Publishers Clearing House $5,000-a-week-forever prize sweepstakes (one in 1,250,500,000).

Besides the $174,000 annual salary, our so-called representatives enjoy a pension after five years, allowances for travel and other expenses, tax deductions, junkets, often paid for by boot-licking lobbyists, and subsidized health care.

Now that’s a good job, especially when you only work 145 days in 2017 (40 percent of the year), earn $1,200 a day, and can spend at least one or two days a week phone-calling for campaign contributions.

The average age of the 115th Congress is 57.8, over half are businessmen or lawyers, only 20 percent are women or minorities, 90 percent are Christian, and over half are millionaires. It’s time to correct that imbalance.

But, some of you may ask, would infants, adolescents, and young adults be eligible to serve as your representative? Of course.

While infants do have language problems, indulge in tantrums, and say “no” a lot, what makes them so different from our current Congress? NSD: No Significant difference.

While adolescents may be irresponsible, all-knowing, uninformed, and subject to hormonal rage, what makes them so different? NSD.

Young adults and boomers can be greedy, self-centered, and overly-ambitious. So? NSD.

Seniors often live in the past, want many goods and services free, and tend to rust out. Again, NSD.

Think of the bounty of benefits of my choose-‘em-by-chance proposal.

We’d have fewer lawyers, misfits, perverts, lobbyists (well, maybe not), and older white guys arguing over math, spewing righteous indignation, and making silly rules or disregarding good ones.

Truly under-represented Americans like atheists, barber shop quartets and Unitarians might finally receive greater representation.

We’d probably have less prevarication, self-loathing and tin-foiled fantasies, less fine print in our laws, reduced corruption, and diminished kakistocracy (a government run by the worst citizens).

We’d have more female representatives, more Latinos, African-Americans and other minority representatives, and a younger 115th Congress, capable of occasional outbursts of common sense.

We might perchance randomly select Congressmen and women who actually read bills before they vote on them,

We’d probably have fewer lunatic-fringe representatives like Louis Gohmert (R-TX) who claimed that Muslims had taken over the Obama White House. Or Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) grandstander extraordinaire and derisively labeled the “queen of mean.”

Or Louisiana Democrat, William J. Jefferson, convicted of corruption in 2005 after authorities discovered $90,000 in frozen bills in his freezer.

And don’t forget former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, who vigorously advocated intelligent design and loudly asserted that vaccines cause mental retardation.

The lottery would provide fewer people who deny global warming, declare that we’re no longer a racist country, believe that there’s such a fuel as “clean coal,” and insist that there are “alternative facts.”

Think about it. Spending billions to elect politicians whom we’re not very thrilled about usually creates an air of ceremonial futility — the same sense you get while sitting through a very expensive wedding ceremony, celebrating a marriage with decidedly mediocre prospects.

The place looks great and you spared no expense, but our public-officials match is only going to last a couple of years, tops, and then it’ll all end in tears.

Well over the age of 60, I’ve lost my perishable advantage (youth), but geriatrics experts maintain that I’ve now some license to be a bit cranky.

So wake up, America! I’m through being Mr. Goodbar. It’s lottery time.

That’s all, folks. I need to run. I forgot to put a note on my door, advising the Prize Patrol to leave the check under the door.


Ocean Park

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