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168 Days: Politics

By Ken Snyder

I know I said these pages were going to be more about USERRA improvements and less about BPU, but sometimes things need addressing. Also, sometimes they get twisted together -- this is one of those times.

After learning about BPU's new choice for General Manager (see "Now Where Are They?") I decided this couldn't go unannounced. Because I live in a district that was up for reelection and represented by someone that has been in the position for over 25 years (obviously in place when my USERRA case was being "investigated") I threw my hat in the ring for the position. By doing so I insured the incumbent would have to run both a primary (there was another challenger for the posision) and a general election. Without directly commenting in our forums that I was wrongfully terminated by BPU I raised the questions that there was far too much secrecy surrounding BPU, and how could they (the Board of Directors) consider someone with a Federal Court Judgment against them in their previous BPU position their "best choice" for General Manager. The incumbents tried to soft-pedal the notion that Johnson was the worst possible choice, commenting on how he has years with BPU and how he has climbed the leadership ladder (albeit on the backs of others) but never denying that what I commented was anything but TRUE. My campaign slogan (for lack of a better term) was "Have You Had Enough?" -- I asked the voters if they were tired of a career politician, traipsing all over the country on your dime (via rates that keep increasing) and approving poor choices like this new General Manager. I pressed the incumbents to answer my questions, and in every case they either ignored them or took off on a tangent that was almost as bad as no comment at all.

In the forums, one of the incumbents and one of the challengers in another position made comments that were absolutely "cringeworthy" -- you can't blame the rate-payers for their high bills when you can't prove that the Board and upper-level management have done all they can to reduce spending (like eliminating junkets all over the country on their expense accounts). When you don't know where your water supply comes from and you don't make the effort to attend Board meetings, how can you expect to accurately address questions and concerns of the rate-payers? I made sure to listen to the questions asked as well as comments from the public, it would appear that what I was concerned about was what the public was concerned about: rates, accountability, transparency. I walked all over my community, talking to fellow BPU rate-payers and asking for their support. However, when the votes were tallied after the primary I came up short. Was I discouraged? Nope -- I did what I set out to do: require a primary election in this district and pose questions that the incumbents couldn't answer without admitting they made poor choices. But once the primary was over, I stayed engaged in the process. Luckily I was able to attend a couple of forums where the audience was able to ask questions -- you can imagine what I asked.

An Open Letter To Mr. Jeff Bryant:

You had the audacity to comment in one of the forums "anyone can have an indictment against them". Well, you're right -- but to get a judgment against you takes a bit more effort, especially when your own lawyers offer it up. That's exactly what we have here: I have a judgment against the UG, against the BPU, against Eric Clark, and lost importantly, against your (as a member of the Board of Directors) "best choice" for General Manager, William A. Johnson. Just in case you haven't viewed it lately here's a copy. The very fact that he was ever on your list of possible candidates reeks of "it's not what you know, it's who you know". I also found out you LIED -- you were overheard saying you didn't know about my suit and the judgment, THAT IS A LIE. What about the "executive sessions" regarding the suit? Did you forget the night I appeared in front of the entire Board in full dress uniform, called you all out and listed exactly when your integrity FAILED? It's not surprising that you didn't have the support of the largest employees' union at BPU and nearly lost your seat to someone who never went to a Board meeting and even missed several forums.
I can expect to hear you ask "when I'll be "over with" this." You'd like for this all to just "go away", like the Yellow Mayor's apologists wanted to happen. When the nearly seven-and-a-half years of unemployment and under-employment "go away", when the FIVE overseas deployments (two of which I took after my wife was permanently disabled) "go away", when being black-balled from any employment in KCK even close to what I was paid at BPU "goes away" THEN I'll start thinking about it. One thing is for sure, it won't be your call.

Also, on the political vein, Mr. Kevin Yoder (US representative for KCK area) was voted out, and Ms. Sharice Davids was voted in. With the fact that she is the daughter of a soldier and says she is actively interested in veteran's/military issues we tried to schedule a meeting to discuss what happened, and how the DOL could/should do better USERRA investigations. I got passed off to her office staff, and that went nowhere. It seems that regardless of political affiliation the US Representative for this area is someone BPU can count on to be their apologist. Here's proof of what I'm saying: out with the old, in with the new.

If a photo op wasn't enough, she goes on to praise BPU on the floor of the House of Representatives:
Click here to read it in the Congressional Record.

Corruption over public concern once again. Surprised? Sadly, no.


Next: Now Where Are They?
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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.