A Beautifully Choreographed Study In Collaborative Government

first_imgLast night’s City Council meeting was a beautifully choreographed study in collaborative government. Not a single “nay” vote was cast during the meeting.  Granted, most of the issues taken up were largely non-controversial. It was mostly re-zonings , accompanied by the a reciprocal agreement between the cities of Henderson and Evansville Fire Departments in case of a disaster. Fire Chief Mike Connolley delivered some good news to the Council when he informed them that money from a federal grant had been used to get firefighters a second set of gear. That will make it possible to get gear that is contaminated with carcinogens cleaned immediately and reduce the exposure to toxic materials.We heard from Russ Lloyd about some fund-shuffling from the Riverboat Fund. Money from the Street and Road Fund is being replaced with boat money, as it is a capital expenditure. We expect this will be a regular occurrence until the $13 million that is not yet allocated is gone.  The City-County Plan for 2016 to 2035 was passed with praise for the plan and the Area Plan Commission.  No questions were asked, and no details offered. The Town of Darmstadt must also approve it, and we suspect there may be some questions when it is presented there.Kelly Coures made his regular appearance to seek permission to juggle some DMD funds, when he told the Council that ECHO housing is passing a $30,000 grant it received along to AURORA, the homeless outreach program. The unexpected cut in Federal funding to that agency has left the city scrambling to find operating cash to keep the agency afloat. Coures also told the Council members about a press conference given earlier in the day, in which Councilman Weaver announced the kick-off of a Capital Campaign for AURORA, which will seek to raise $160,000 to devote to the operation of the agency.DMD Director Kelly Coures  told City Council that he needs some extra money for paying for rooms for the neighborhood representatives that will be attending the Regional Neighborhoods Conference in Illinois.  He said DMD didn’t set aside enough to pay for the block of rooms they are furnishing for the various neighborhood activists that have been chosen to represent Evansville. Course never explained what kind of accommodations the Evansville tax payers was furnishing the collaborative neighborhood folks, not one Council member questioned it.We had the distinct feeling that we were watching an amateur theater presentation instead of a meeting of the governing body of a vibrant city.On the plus side, it does appear that Missy Mosby is beginning to be more familiar with Roberts Rules and is reading her lines better.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Editorial: Overcompensated Coal Executives Have Broken Trust With Employees

first_imgEditorial: Overcompensated Coal Executives Have Broken Trust With Employees FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune:Once, it was true that if you worked hard enough for a long enough time, your dedication would be rewarded. You earned your salary, and your benefits were there when you needed them.That’s no longer the case – at least not at America’s biggest coal companies, several of which have significant operations here in Wyoming.Almost 500 people who toiled for years at mines owned by Arch Coal and Peabody Energy were recently laid off. It would be easy to blame this on the dwindling demand for coal and other market factors.But that’s not the full story. While Wyoming coal country trembled, fearful of the industry’s future and its own, these producers’ CEOs and other executives profited richly.Alpha Natural Resources, Arch and Peabody paid their management teams $186 million in stock awards, incentives and other forms of compensation between 2012 and 2014. All three companies have since filed for bankruptcy protection – and their struggles are tied to the decisions of the executives, who in 2011 rushed to acquire mines to capitalize on strong demand for metallurgical coal. Critics say this was foolish, that these expensive executives should have known they were walking into a metallurgical market near its height.Soon enough, though, it appeared that they did know what would happen: “The behavior of these executives seems to me pretty outrageous. They could see the handwriting on the wall,” Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., told the Star-Tribune. “The numbers are there. They started paying themselves out way back in 2012 or early 2013 when the numbers were turning.”And those payments appear to have contributed to the severity of layoffs. For example, Alpha wants to slash retiree benefits for about 4,580 nonunion miners and their spouses. The would save roughly $3 million annually, or about 14 percent of the $20.8 million Alpha paid its management in 2014.Not as well-insulated were the Wyomingites who worked at the mines. Hundreds of households that depended on these once-reliable jobs are looking desperately for help and rethinking their futures. But the effects of the companies’ actions don’t stop at these miners or their communities. They will ripple across Wyoming, straining the resources of the state, its municipalities and its charities.Wyoming is in the process of diversifying its economy, and part of that should include looking for companies that prioritize all hardworking employees, not just the executives.Employment does have to adapt to some degree to the economic climate. As demand for coal dwindles, it makes sense that employment at mines would, too. But none of this should happen while management benefits so richly.These executives should have demonstrated good corporate citizenship by placing the needs of their hardworking employees ahead of their own desire for financial gain.But because they didn’t, Wyomingites are working to make sure these families have enough to eat and safe places to live. After that, the state’s network of resources, such as community colleges, are left to find ways to offer job-training opportunities, so the miners can redirect or reinvent their careers.The companies’ decisions have also served to break the trust miners once enjoyed with their employers. When companies did well, everyone prospered. Employees believed they had built a solid foundation of trust with their employers. That’s why it was all the more shocking when that foundation crumbled.A government watchdog agency and a group of former Alpha executives agrees. The U.S. Trustee, a division of the Justice Department, filed an objection earlier this year to Alpha’s plan to reward executives while recording steep losses and seeking to cut retiree benefits. Meanwhile, former Alpha CEO Michael Quillen, who is protesting the proposal with a group of other former executives, told the Star-Tribune the plan does not represent “the values the company was built on.”It also doesn’t represent the values the American dream was built on. As Wyoming continues to diversify its economy, it should look to welcome companies who know that success is built on the work of many people — not just those at the top.Full editorial: Editorial board: Coal payouts turn American dream upside downlast_img read more

Motorcross races rescheduled for this Sunday

first_imgThe event had to be cancelled twice already this summer on June 26 and July 24 due to heavy rainfalls wreaking havoc on the track, which is located just off the Collins Road off of Highway 49.The races are expected to bring out over 250 riders from across British Columbia and Alberta to complete in different classes, including two classes for quads.The first race begins at 9:30 a.m. and admissionm for the races is only $5 per person. – Advertisement -To access the track, turn right (south) at Belsum Auto Recyclers, located about two kilometres east of the traffic circle on Highway 49.last_img read more