It looks like Fayetteville City Manager Ted Voorhees is still chasing PWC as a means of balancing the city budget; and squarely in his court is our local daily newspaper issuing dire warnings to Fayetteville residents of the pending catastrophe if the General Assembly approves the recommendations recently made by our legislative delegation.
What are they thinking? Raising questions at this point about the competent operation and management of PWC makes me wonder whether Fayetteville Observer’s editorial writer, Tim White, even lives in Fayetteville or Cumberland County for that matter. In last Sunday’s edition he spoke about PWC and the city sharing services like human resource departments, call center services and other cooperative efforts that could possibly save taxpayers money.
My first reaction is to recommend that he check out how well the combined City /Cumberland County Parks & Recreation program is working out. How efficient is it and how much money have we saved collectively? My second reaction is to ask him to compare and evaluate how well other city departments are currently operated and what their level of efficiency is. They can start with the notorious Inspections Department. Don’t even get me started about the numerous complaints that have been launched in that direction concerning their service and “efficiency”.
Questioning the veracity and trustworthiness of PWC, which has consistently earned state and national honors for its operations is, well, suspicious at best. White suggested that the proposed new charter provides only “some vague assurances” that PWC and its commissioners will continue to look out for the best interest of Fayetteville residents. Again, what are you thinking, Tim?
Check the records. Our PWC has been operating efficiently for more than 100 years. It has been recognized locally for its commitment to community and regionally, statewide and nationally for quality, customer service and fiscal responsibility. Toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose, I doubt whether the city under Voorhees direction would measure up. And, to insinuate that PWC Chairman Mike Lallier is wrong in trying to preserve the integrity of PWC’s independence indicates how truly out of touch White and our daily newspaper are with this community.
PWC is a business. A huge business. Appropriately, Mike Lallier is a local successful businessman, as is PWC Commissioners Darsweil Rogers of RMC Strategies, Lynne Green of Highland Lumber Company and Wade Fowler. In addition, several members of our local legislative delegation who crafted HB 392 are also successful business people: John Szoka, Sen. Wesley Meredith and Rep. Rick Glazier. They didn’t get where they are by making dumb and irresponsible business decisions. They are all smart, conscientious public servants committed to this community with integrity and long-term vision. Not bureaucrats. If career bureaucrats, like Voorhees, could accomplish such feats they wouldn’t be trying to raid PWC’s coffers. Perhaps, if the city worked more efficiently it could cut its budget - starting in city hall.
I know this issue is very confusing to many of our readers so I will try to explain it. Hence, the Ted Voorhees/PWC Charter Controversy Primer
Chapter One: Voorhees comes to the Fayetteville Farm and sees a “cash cow” in PWC just waiting to be milked. In meetings at the state- level he makes it plain that he plans on taking over the operation. He assumes he is smarter than anyone else including the city council because he is a “trained administrator.”
Chapter Two: The PWC cash cow is not ready for milking and resists Voorhees advances. Farm hand, Mike Lallier objects to this as do others.
Chapter Three: Voorhees insist he needs fresh milk from the PWC cow. He convinces six newly hired farmhands (city council members) that he knows all about cash cows. Since they are newbies and know little about the ways of the cash cow, they acquiesce to Voorhees wishes and follow him blindly in hopes of getting the PWC cash cow milked. Everyone knows what you step in when you walk blindly down a “cow path”. Voorhees is up to his knees in it!
Chapter Four: Seeing the potential cattle rustling on the horizon, Lallier and the farmhands sue Voorhees and the city asking them to keep their hands off their udders. The PWC farm hands have been tending to PWC cows for more than a century and have consistently brought home the blue ribbon - check their trophy case. The city cowhands said they could do it better. Laughter erupts!
Chapter Five: Mediation commences without much progress. Both agree that the charter needed to be clarified. Enter the General Assembly.
Chapter Six: The Cumberland County legislative delegation assembled and agreed to assist. The delegation, headed up by John Szoka, clarified and simplified the Charter and drafted a bill (HB 392) to implement changes clarifying the roles and responsibilities of both parties. Happy ending? Not so much for Voorhees. As predicted, the cash cow is now out of his grasp. The crowd goes wild.
Chapter Seven: Voorhees, upset and angry, goes into Chicken Little mode crying the sky is falling! And directs all city departments to slow their spending and reduce their budgets, ensuring the pain is shared by all. At this point, one must ask: Who is giving Voorhees his direction? Who does Voorhees work for? The city council should remember he serves at their pleasure not the other way around. See you down on the farm.
Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.