SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


RE: KPU telecommunications
By Scott Willis


May 08, 2008
Thursday PM

I don't care to name "names" in a public forum as this Mr Person, but I assure you that my information comes directly from the boasting of the managers' mouths bragging about the "golden parachute" they will enjoy from the sale of the Telecommunications Division. Clearly this boastful action directly from the "horse's mouth" made me quite sick to think a man would be willing to sell out his own people that he works with day in and day out. I'm not one to make waves, or enter the political arena but I can no longer sit by the sideline and watch as misrepresentations are made, copious amounts of taxpayer money is wasted, and blatant abuse of government position is flaunted. Bottom line Mr. Person is that I know first hand as it was boastfully and shamefully presented in a public address to Telecommunication workers and I was present in the room. I will gladly tell you who these men are that plan to sell Ketchikan's "golden goose" to the wolves. I appealed to the City Council to take action and investigate. Not to take my word on this issue, but let the facts and truth in Telecommunication accounts payable records tell the story where the extra money is flowing out so quickly. Sam Bergeron suggested the Council investigate into the matter, but was quickly silenced and the motion was suppressed! Why is that? If there is nothing to hide then checking a book for errors is just good business practice, right? If there is nothing to hide, why would anyone be against this audit?

About my job as union labor Mr. Person, please, do you really believe being Union is non-competitive? ACS is IBEW, AT&T are Teamsters! GCI is not union but pay way better than KPU. I laugh at your lack of understanding and give you an example that is going to happen: City Council will be "rubber-stamping" YES to OK a Telecommunications Contract for Optical Fiber line work. They will be told that this is the "thing" to do and without question or understanding, they will obey and OK!

In the next Council meeting their techno-ignorance will show through as they OK a contractor to come to Ketchikan and install Fiber Optic lines to upgrade existing telephone lines. What they don't realize it that by awarding that contract, it will be just another middle finger flipped up and pointed at KPU employees. You see, this contractor is paying union scale. Not Ketchikan union scale, but statewide union scale, as in what GCI, ACS and AT&T would pay their people. That means they will first hire out of Ketchikan Union Hall and take those on the books. More than likely, the existing linemen we have in Ketchikan would be foolish not to quit KPU and join the contractors. The pay is about $8.00 an hour higher, the retirement plan is about $4.00 an hour better and health care is the same plan. The overtime they would make on this job bottom line is they stand to make a year's wage in 4 months. What will happen to KPU the next time we have a power outage? No linemen means: no people to restore power. Instead of minutes or an hour to get the power back on line, can the citizens expect our power and telephone will be in the hands of contractor out of town? A power outage may take days or weeks to recover? Anyone care about that? The City stalling on the contract is not about remaining "competitive." These are the types of misrepresentation I speak of are causing trouble for both union and management sides. We need for everyone to be truthful and we need the men I spoke of before to stop spreading cancerous myths of union labor being non-competitive. That is simply not true.

I am not concerned about my job disappearing. I can take a job anywhere I want to whenever I want to this is not about me and this is not why I wrote to SitNews. I wrote to SitNews simply to answer another man's question and do give him an honest assessment of the questions he asked. That's all, the truth, Mr. Person, I have not disparaged nor slandered any senior management! In fact the report you refer to is published by senior management, but the information they post is only as good is the person that furnishes this information to these managers! It is the source of information I am asking to have audited. It may appear that the published information is quite different from other documentation in the Telecommunications Office. If there is indeed the slightest question, then requesting an audit is not asking for much, correct? Then why do management representations try harder to avoid further inspection? Why do they become nervous and avoid the questions when this data is presented? Another thing Mr. Person, ask GCI if they have met their sales goals? To further my point Mr. Person, your URL is non sequitur.

My writing does not represent the City of Ketchikan workers; It does not represent IBEW, nor any union activities in any way. These are my own opinions and should be taken as such.

The situation may appear to you as a "technology challenged" individual to be "that the City of Ketchikan is unable to keep up with the technological and financial demands that will keep KPU telecommunications profitable in the future." But this again is another one of the many misrepresentations I am trying to inform the public about.

KPU Telecom is profitable and will continue to be only if the 2 primary problems are removed from the equation and the profit leak is plugged up.

Mr. Person, your words are "The City Council is trying to make a good decision despite being hounded with misinformation from an unemployed charlatan masquerading as a "telecommunications expert". You are so true except for the "charlatan" as you say is not unemployed, and most of all, your "charlatan" is not me. This is exactly why I care about what is going to happen to KPU. You brought up a good point about Fairbanks, guess who was involved in that scandal as well? Not me! Anchorage and Fairbanks are entirely different markets and your are using the exact same story as the man that plans to cut our jobs, sell and run ... et tu Brute?

Union means We, not me. Mr. Person who cares about stocks and bonds if one has no money to buy food? The Telephone Department makes money and will continue to, KPU makes electricity and will continue to. If KPU becomes private sector and has to produce dividends for stock holders, then expect the cost of living to increase. If I did not have good friends in this town, and did not love fishing so much, I would have pulled up and packed out of town with my skills long ago and leave the fate of this community for people like you Mr. Person to climb the electric pole and connect the power in the middle of the next storm! When the seas are calm, it is easy to criticize. When the storms come and the power is down, who comes to the rescue to restore the power? It's your local friends at the IBEW -- the people that may have to save your life someday may be Union! Union jobs are not the problem Mr. Person and maybe you too should demand an investigation into this matter before you call me a liar! I really hope my accusations are wrong! I hope there is no wrongdoing on this issue! The problem is that simple questions are being avoided, investigations are being suppressed and lies are everywhere they should not be. This is not Union vs Management case; it's about right and wrong.

As I stated before, attack my "union job" all your want to, but the problem is it's not about me. You see Mr. Person; there are management staff, administrative staff and support staff that will loose their jobs. Mr. Person I ask you, do you think 30 plus people and their families are worth fighting for? As long as KPU is making money and able to provide money back into the community, do think it is worth fighting for? I'm a Christian. I believe that people are more important and are more valuable than profit. I am fighting to get the real truth out to the public so the right decision can be made. If it is best to sell then let's do it, but do not sell based on lies and deception That is all I'm asking, is the real truth too much for you to expect? As for the "dead turkey", at least we can eat it to stay alive when the ships stop floating into port. Mr. Person, since you are subject expert on telecommunications; we need help in the Central Office, why don't you apply for the Job?

Scott Willis
Ketchikan, AK

Received May 08, 2008 - Published May 08, 2008


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