Eastern Power Agency/ElectriCities BUDGET Meeting and Rate Committee Meeting

Wilson, NC Wilson Operations Center


Critical Meeting

Budget, Rates. We need to let the entire group know so this will be publicized. If the press does not ask questions, we need to do so. Another former reporter who has looked at this place gave me some tips and I will send them out.

Departments can be cut, positions can be cut. Let's look at Daryl's letter in Wilson again

1. Cut $174,000 per year for board member salaries (all of them, not just the east), starting Sept. 1 since the rate increase started Aug. 1.

The eastern agency made the CUT so this was half done.

2. Reduce CEO salary to $250,000, a cost savings of $200,000 and termination of current contract for the CEO amid mismanagement, misallocation of funds for staff salary increases and other expenses, including debt refinancing.

Success. But let's see what happens next.

Here is the rest of the list Daryl put together:

3. Eliminate out of state annual meeting, a savings of more than $100,000 plus the additional costs cities incur for travel, meals and lodging. Make this meeting a one day event in an electric city at a conference center. It looks bad to be at resorts when residents are cutting their travel.
4. Eliminate staff retreats, out of state travel, savings of more than $200,000
5. Eliminate multiple positions in senior management and manager level management and salary adjustments eliminating double digit salary increases over the past five years, savings of more than $2 million (note: 23 people make more than $100,000 and 29 people make between $80,000 and $100,000). Many have received 50 percent increases over five years. Others have received 15-20 percent increases in one year.
6. Eliminate of contract lobbyists and excessive staff lobbyists based on excessive turnover (80 percent), savings of $500,000 (note: ElectriCities has 14 lobbyists, Progress Energy has three and the electric cooperatives have eight) and no matter how you spin the words to construe "reported lobbying or grassroots" the fact remains there is a lot more money in this budget than you reported to the newspaper.
7. Restrict the legal budget expenses to $150,000, savings of more than $400,000. Eliminating the CEO will prevent settlements driving these costs up.
8. Freeze hiring, effective Aug. 23, 2008.
9. Restrict salary adjustments to 2 percent for the lowest paid employees only (below $50,000) for the next three years. Elimination of bonuses.
10. Streamline functions within ElectriCities to achieve elimination of positions.
11. Eliminate the October employee appreciation day -- off-site lunch, prepaid credit card -- cost savings $10,000.
12. Eliminate purchase of Logo items - stressballs, pens, plastic calculators, little flashlights, etc, etc.-- cost savings $200,000.
13. Eliminate out of state travel for trade shows. No need to spend money on booths and staff travel and give-aways to go to trade shows. No competition -- cost savings $100,000
14. Cut excessive magazine/newspaper/web subscriptions.-trade journals, websites and newspapers -$5000 cost savings
15. Cut out catering dollars, bottled water, cans of coke and coffeee service, hotel meeting space and catering costs. Have meetings on member city property or at headquarters. Bring a bag lunch. Cost savings $50,000
16. Eliminate the perk of board members drive up the night before and stay at Raleigh hotels and go out to dinner and charge it all back to ElectriCities. All cities are in driving distance. Cost savings $12,000.
17. Eliminate multiple lawyer/lobbying assistance costs. Savings of $120,000.
18. Printing --$100,000 for their annual report that is late. Use a CD for financials. Cut half the brochures, economic development slicks, and fact sheets. Apparently there are 10-12 outside consultants, printers and others who develop these publications even though there are six or seven staff. Cut $100,000 Printing,$250,000 consultants, printers, writers. Print what is necessary. Cost savings $350,000
19. Advertising -- cut for now, cities do it anyway. Public Power week -- cut all the freebies. Economic development ads -- cut some. Cost savings $200,000.
19. Eliminate Energy Solution Partners -- cost savings of $100,000.
20. Cut sponsorships to three or four key ones, including transmission collaboration meetings ($200k), economic development conferences and Association of Broadcasters meetings, Friends of N.C. Cost savings $300,000.
21. Cut American Public Power Association meetings -- numerous APPA events and conferences throughout the year at places like Colorado, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, etc. Cut all but absolutely necessary and save $150,000.
22. Lobbying events -- cut Legislative Appreciation receptions in Raleigh and a Congressional reception in D.C.$30,000 cost savings.
23. Professional memberships -- cut to the absolutely necessary -- cost savings $100,000
24. Eliminated twice a year golf and fishing events, numerous golf outings, gym equipment, bathroom renovations, commissioned art, big screen TVs in meeting rooms. Cut for cost savings of $250,000
25. Eliminate the political action committee. It looks terrible to give money from staff salary increases and bonuses to legislators at a time like this and they look bad receiving it.

Al Manning, retiree, native of eastern NC and proud of it, plenty of time to read, research and get annoyed about the lack of accountability in elected leaders these days. Married to a real southern lady and we live with two labs and two airedales who run