"The Current City Management Has Rejected Any Advice on Real Solutions"

Submitted on 2014/04/13 at 5:28 pm
by  R. Woodman …..

waterSince I left the city several months ago I still stay in touch with a number of my former colleagues in the public utilities department and I really empathize with what they are going through these past few years. It is very difficult for those highly skilled employees who care very much about their jobs and the city of Port orange to have no cohesive administrative management.
A number of the employees that I have talked to recently have affirmed all the negativity on this blog regarding the utilities director. I am hearing that some of our best and longest term employees are so disgusted with the mismanagement of the department that they are contemplating retirement sooner than they had planned. There are also a number of core technical staff that are actively seeking employment elsewhere. Some damn good employees have already left the city over the last couple years. Among other reasons this is in part due to the fact that their sound advice to solve the major problems in the utilities department has fallen on deaf ears.
The current city management has rejected any advice on real solutions to metering and reclaimed water problems. they have chosen to take their own path with no critical analysis from utilities staff and without any clear explanation to council or our citizens. It is abundantly clear that the hiring of the utilities director was done without a thorough employment background check. Maybe the results from the check were selective depending on the agenda of the person doing the hiring.
Does he have the knowledge and skills needed to solve the problems of our utilities. It is also clear the his past is one of serial employee abuse which has been investigated and documented. It appears that he may be replicating his past and visiting it upon some of our best employees here in Port Orange.
Do we really want to run off what remains of our institutional knowledge base in utilities? Does the city manager want to stand behind an individual that most of the utilities employees have no confidence in?
Does council support this?

3 thoughts on “"The Current City Management Has Rejected Any Advice on Real Solutions"

  • April 13, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Very well said. We were much better off when Donna stepped in and took charge. She was a professional Manager. Although she admittedly lacked broad based knowledge in Utilities she knew where to find it. Her ability to gather information from the entire group and assemble it was outstanding. She was a true Manager. Her honesty and transparacey had us resolving obstacles not dancing around them.
    Your many years of experience and personal knowledge of our utility is deeply missed. The management style of following the few well positioned noses is not working. As a matter of fact it really STINKS! Other long term knowledgeable employees like yourself are looking for a way out the door. I hope the bleeding stops soon or we are headed for much deeper troubles.
    Always nice to hear from you.

  • April 14, 2014 at 7:26 am

    I noticed Bob Ford requested information on zero read meters. That’s a good thing but he needs to go deeper than that. What is the failure rate? Which manufacturer brand is having problems? What are the specific problems? Are they under warranty? Are these the similar or same problems that we have been having that started all this mess? What are we doing about it? Is there a long term plan to permanently correct this problem? Who’s paying for it and how much $$?
    Why haven’t they reported the problems to council and public? This should be considered a major embarrassment to the city that they can’t fix something so simple as meter problems. This is not rocket science.

  • April 15, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I have a few more thoughts on meters. We have replaced various compound meters at businesses and Condos. Some for esthetic reasons plus it makes good sense. A problem that can occur with this is proper installation. You need a minimum of a five pipe diameter length of straight line upstream of the meter and a minimum of a two pipe diameter length of straight line downstream. If they are not installed like this they most likely won’t be accurate. This could lead to a loss in revenue.
    On the residential and or zero read meters replacements. Can we account for any revenue increases resulting in all the work and expense that went into it? Has there been records kept by meter accounts showing revenue increases on each individual replaced meters? Do we know what the net increase in revenue has been since replacing all of these meters? Have we increased revenues? Have we lost revenue? It would make good common sense to have these records for accountability and to measure success or failure. This information should be demanded and produced immediately. No consultants involved. Finance should be able to print it right out if they are doing their jobs properly.


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