Reader: Citizens must demand more from Utilities Board 

click to enlarge Jerry Forte - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Jerry Forte

This is in response to "Utilities goes from one Drake lawsuit to another," by Nat Stein. It seems like every time I open the Indy there's yet another story about Colorado Springs Utilities and some lawsuit it finds itself embroiled in. Utilities is either using the court to attack a concerned mother for talking about air quality (which Utilities refuses to discuss), or being sued by other businesses and organizations.

As reported in 2014, Utilities CEO Jerry Forte's total compensation was increased to $447,175. By comparison, the U.S. president earns a salary of $400,000. The Utilities Board (whose members double as City Council), instead of managing Forte and his team to avoid countless problems that morph into rate increases, simply sits by and continues to be obedient puppets. How many more hundreds of millions will the board allow the city to squander including on lawsuits (and lawyers) and violations of the Clean Air Act?

Utilities is in bad need of reform, starting at the top. Since the Utilities Board can't seem to properly represent constituents, they need to be replaced with a qualified elected board whose sole responsibility is to manage this $1 billion operation. If ever there was a time for new governance for the people's utility, it's now.

At a minimum, we should consider this area of competence with candidates running in the upcoming Council election. We, the citizen-ratepayers and owners of this business, must demand a more professional management team and board.

— Amy Gray, Colorado Springs

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