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168 Days: Cast of Characters

By Ken Snyder

Every story has to have a cast of characters, so let me list the principals in this one:

Pictures coming soon.

Greg DeGraeve
First of all, there is Mr. DeGraeve, the Working Foreman in the Traffic Signal Shop. DeGraeve retired in late 2010 and had worked in the Traffic Signal Shop for 19 years. Since his father Clarence DeGraeve was on the Board of Directors at BPU (President of the Board 1987-1988 and 1990-1992) I'm sure it wasn't hard for him to get hired in 1987.

Next, we have the other Traffic Signal Technicians:

Cheryl Castle
Ms. Castle worked her way up the ladder at BPU, finally landing in the Traffic Signal Shop and attaining the title of Certified Traffic Signal Technician. When DeGraeve retired, Castle took over the position of Working Foreman.

Mike Sisson
Mr. Sisson is now #2 in the Traffic Signal Shop, a Certified Traffic Signal Technician. While he "lives" in Kansas City, Kansas (required to work at BPU) his wife "lives" in Missouri and he also has moonlighted in a Best Buy store on the Missouri side of the metropolitan area. Believe it or not, Sisson is an Air Force veteran but his enlistment ended many years ago -- long before he started at BPU.

Nick Dunn
https://www.facebook.com/nick.dunn.731
Mr. Dunn started with BPU just before I did -- because his military service was over. Dunn started in traffic signals before coming to BPU, working in his native state of Iowa. Conveniently enough, one of his brothers works for the Unified Government and one of his former neighbors was Mr. Roger Jones, the Working Foreman in the Traffic Signal Shop before DeGraeve. More about his "connections" later.

Now, we have other individuals associated with this fiasco:

Eric Clark
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1229619166
Mr. Clark is the supervisor over the Traffic Signal Shop, replacing Mr. Russell Walters. Clark's a transplant from Kansas City, Missouri where he worked for Kansas City Power & Light. When Walters retired in April 2010, Clark moved up from lineman to management. For a mid-level supervisor "Wibby" sure lives well in the Piper area of KCK, like many of BPU's employees.

William A. Johnson
http://www.bpu.com/AboutBPU/SeniorLeadership.aspx
Mr. "I See A Trend" Johnson is listed as the "Manager of Electric Operations and Technology" on BPU's website. When the General Manager is away, Johnson often presides over BPU Board of Directors' meetings. He's been with BPU for over 20 years, working his way up and earning a couple of degrees along the way. More about this poor excuse for leadership later.

Samuel DeLeon
Mr. DeLeon is the Director of Human Resources at BPU. He took over the position when the previous HR director was caught giving a little "off the books" legal work to a friend. Not long after that was discovered, he turned up dead. Don't believe me? Here's more on that story.

Rob Wonnell and Jane Sieve-Wilson
Mr. Wonnell and Ms. Sieve-Wilson were attorneys for McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips (MVP). MVP represents just about every aspect of government in KCK -- the Unified Government, BPU, the school district and the community college. Their presence is truly regional, one of those mega-firms with plenty of resources and staff ready and willing to put the "little people" in their place.

Areon Kelvington
Mr. Kelvington worked for the Department of Labor's Veteran's Education and Training Service. His job was to investigate USERRA cases in Kansas.

There are others, but these are the names you'll find mentioned the most.

 

Next: Before BPU: A Little History
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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.