City Boards Could Use A Homeowner

The composition of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities board of directors could change at the end of the year.

One seat reserved for a member of the City Council will be open after the defeat of Greg Rabb, D-At Large and City Council president, in the Nov. 7 election. The terms of Chuck Cornell, Ralph Wallace and Martha Zenns expire at the end of the year. Mayor Sam Teresi will announce appointments and reappointments to city boards and commission’s during the first City Council meeting of 2018.

Todd Tranum, president of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturer’s Association of the Southern Tier executive director, asked the City Council recently if one of the new BPU board members could be a member of the city’s business community. Tranum said five of the top 10 BPU customers are private, for-profit manufacturers and should be represented on the board. We note that Wallace has recently begun working for Cummins Inc.’s Jamestown Engine Plant while Maria Jones, a City Council member who is up for reappointment to the board, is machining team manager at Cummins. Cummins is a BPU water customer that has occasionally had a relationship wtih the BPU for electricity as well, though it does not receive city electricity now.

While manufacturing has two seats on the nine-member board, Tranum’s concern about the makeup of the BPU board is something we hope the council will keep in mind. Current members include the mayor, city public works director, two JCC professors, the director of the State University at Fredonia Technology Incubator, two Cummins employees, The Resource Center’s human resources administrator, and a retired biomedical technician. In addition to manufacturing outside of Cummins Inc., in our opinion, it is notable that the BPU board doesn’t include someone who owns or operates a small business in the city. And, frankly, it would be nice if there was a seat for the regular old homeowner and ratepayer who finds themselves on the receiving end of decisions made at the board table.