Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mayor Johnson and Councilman Perkins implicated in DAM SCAM

Mayor Yvonne Johnson and Councilman
Robbie Perkins go back to the beginning
Greensboro Mayor Yvonne Johnson (left photo) was a City Council member during my employment as Water Conservation (WC) Manager from 1994 to 1999. In this story you will learn why Mayor Johnson’s Council position back then implicates her as an original dam scammer. In 1995 City Council liked what I was doing so much that it requested a personal WC update by me. After my 30-minute presentation City Manager Bill Carstarphen and PR Manager Judi Rosabi told me it was powerful and Council loved it! A few weeks later Carstarphen called me to his office, he praised me, and then he asked me to run the City’s United Way campaign. Now get this—I was hot on reducing Greensboro’s water demand, so why would he want me to manage a fundraising effort—nearly a full-time job? If Greensboro was truly running out of water, why would Carstarphen move me off my assignment? In 1997 Assistant City Manager Mona Edwards came to my office to interview me. She was particularly concerned about Water Director Ray Shaw’s lack of interest in WC. She was appalled when she learned that I was not even welcome at Shaw’s water department meetings. Mona Edwards may have had something to do with "The Shaw of Utilities" retirement. She knew the water director wanted nothing to do with WC. My success over the next two years netted the 1996 Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Environmental Stewardship Award, then back to back 1st place awards from the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1996 and 1997 for reducing Greensboro water use. I had become one of the top ten WC program managers in the United States—but the dam scammers did not like my success because it was becoming a threat to the dam. In addition, I was creating a new water supply at a fraction of the cost of building a supply like the Randleman Dam. Each year I received outstanding employment evaluations. They stated that I was an asset to the City of Greensboro. At the same time I was being harassed by management and not allowed to add staff or expand the WC program. I was never given the huge salary increase I was promised that would bring me in line with what other WC managers earn. My family was suffering on the paltry salary Greensboro paid me for reducing its water use. I became frustrated. Then I became depressed because I knew that my job would end. By the beginning of my 3rd year it became crystal clear to me that Greensboro never intended for me to reduce water demand. I was hired just for “show” —so that Greensboro could claim it was doing everything it should while it argued for the dam.
Think about it—it would be hard to argue for a controversial dam without a water conservation program. So, in 1994 City Council required that a WC program be started. That's where I came in.
Yvonne Johnson and Robbie Perkins were on that 1994 Council. Their decision to start WC was a strategic move that was necessary to get the dam—and then WC backfired on them. They never expected me to actually reduce water use (water sales) and become a threat to the approval of the dam. Despite my small WC budget and one-man office, TV and radio news teams used me often and it was all free. I reached thousands and thousands of citizens. Director Williams, my boss became jealous of me because I could speak on camera and he couldn't. I had become the preferred water spokesman and that only created more distance between us.
Large numbers of Greensboro citizens began reacting to my programs and water use began to decline (Click on CHART). The first year it declined the water engineers said it was a fluke. During the second year of decline they actually re-calibrated the meters at the water treatment plants just to be sure their numbers were correct. Because water was being conserved, water sales began to decline. The water department began losing revenue.
All the managers were baffled that water use went down while record numbers of building permits were being issued. I was baffled too, until I proved to myself that citizens were changing their behavior and their water-wasting hardware. I did research of my own to prove it was conservation and not a fluke. I figured that if water use was truly going down, then the wastewater treatment plants should be receiving less in-flo proportionally. During the 4 winter months when lawn watering was not a factor I compared waste water intake to the previous years and sure enough, during a booming economy water demand was going down. It went down 3 years in a row right after the water director predicted in would increase every year by about 1.5mgd (see CHART). I knew I was in trouble. Declining water demand meant that Greensboro would have a very hard time arguing for the Randleman Dam. So Greensboro began to conceal the fact that water demand was declining. And Water Director Allan Williams began making my job more difficult. (Left: City Council meeting) In my fourth year I was making appeals to management and Mayor Carolyn Allen to increase the water conservation effort to save even more water. By rights, Greensboro should have given me whatever I wanted because I was making new water at a fraction of the cost of purchasing or building new resources. I had proved that WC is a best management practice in Greensboro.
I knew 5 simple actions that Greensboro could take to rectify the entire "water crisis." My suggestions fell on deaf ears because they would have eliminated the argument for the dam.
Mayor Allen was supposed to be in the “environmental Mayor” but once my programs became productive and water use declined she did nothing to help WC. The word got to her, and that's why she never embraced WC the way she did recycling. Mayor Allen had no choice but to go along with the scam for the dam. It was the "consensus" of the Council to stop Mike Baron because my unanticipated success with WC became a threat to the dam.
In 1997 I knew 5 simple things Greensboro could do that would solve the water crisis without building the Randleman Dam The same City Council (with Johnson and Perkins on board) that began WC now had to squelch it. The word had gotten to them that Baron had to be stopped....or he had to go. They knew that if the public and the feds learned that water use was declining Greensboro could not argue for the dam. So Greensboro’s City Council became dam scammers by suppressing the truth and by hanging me out to dry.
The same City Council (Johnson and Perkins) that began the WC program was told WC had to stop because it had become a threat to the approval of the Randleman Dam.
During my fifth and final year along came the drought. The reservoirs were being oversold on purpose every year to justify the Randleman Dam. So the drought caused serious trouble. For the first time the water shortage crisis was real and not fabricated. (RIGHT: The billboard I designed and purchased for High Point Road)
During the shortage City Manager Ed Kitchen put his incompetent Assistant City Manager William Harrell in charge. Harrell is a nice guy but he did not know what to do and he did not know how to manage. I was a thorn in his side because he was ruining what I had built over 4 years. Soon he relieved me of my responsibilities and assigned desk work for me. He announced, "I AM NOW IN CHARGE OF WATER CONSERVATION."
Top Ten WC Programs in the US?
One of the most hilarious desk assignments Harrell gave me was to identify the top ten Water Conservation programs in the US and ask them what to do. Harrell did not even realize that I was one of them.
Next, Harrell hired a PR firm to do "damage control" because citizens were ripped about hastily imposed restrictions on water use that seemed to change daily. Harrell did such a poor job of handling the water crisis that it led to his own demise. In 2000 he quietly “resigned” from his $95,000 job as Assistant City Manager and left Greensboro. This assistant city manager fired me...and then he left Greensboro
Imagine, a black executive is sent packing from Greensboro's City Hall ...and not even the City Council or the NAACP gets involved. That's because Assistant City Manager William Harrell bungled every assignment Ed Kitchen ever gave him.
Now Harrell is a living example of the Peter Principle and making $175K annually as City Manager in Chesapeake, VA. "Segway" was his favorite word. Everything was a segway.
With the help of Water Director Allan Williams whose water sales began to suffer, Harrell (above) fired me. I was given 10 minutes to clean out my desk and I was escorted outside of City Hall with just two weeks severance pay for my 5 years of outstanding service and EPA awards. After being fired from City Hall at age 53 I could not get another job. You can read the green column to the right if you want to know all the bad stuff that followed. Never heard from City Council
Now this is what I find interesting. I think you will too. Neither Mayor Carolyn Allen nor anyone on City Council ever contacted me after I was terminated.
You would think that when an outstanding employee with a track record like mine is fired, that some Council members would pick up the phone and conduct a little fact-finding of their own. Nope. That never happened. They all knew I had to go, and they all became dam scammers for their silence and their failure to do what was best for Greensboro.
One WC Manager is enough!
Greensboro fired its only WC Manager—and then it never replaced him (me). Is that dumb or what? Even when WC is just a showpiece, at least you hire a replacement to make the public and the media think you are serious about it. But when you have the media in your hip pocket, you don't even have to replace your WC Manager.
City Council was given the message that WC had to be stopped. For the sake of the Randleman Dam, me, my career and my family were thrown under the bus. I was simply collateral damage when $150 million dollar dam project that promised to grow Greensboro was at stake. And you know just how bad Greensboro wants to GROW.
I was hired to save water—I did— and I unintentionally stepped into the crossfire because I was successful. If I never reduced water use I would still be employed. When Greensboro management gave the same treatment to Police Chief David Wray it got caught and a firestorm ensued. But I was a small one-man department and easy to snuff out. Greensboro extinguished me and hardly anybody noticed. Mayor Johnson and Councilman Robbie Perkins were instrumental in voting to begin WC in 1994. Yet neither of them ever contacted me to ask why I was terminated. And Johnson and Perkins had to have noticed that I was never replaced. They also had to have noticed that under Water Director Allan William’s watch, the WC program was eventually eliminated. Today Greensboro has no water conservation program at all—and yet it continually clamors that it needs more water. Mayor Yvonne Johnson and Councilmen Robbie Perkins are Randleman Dam scammers who did "whatever it took" to get the Randleman Dam. They were key players in Greensboro’s biggest scam ever---the Randleman Dam. WC had to be sabotaged for the dam to get approved. Why has Greensboro’s news media not held management's feet to the fire for eliminating Greensboro’s EPA award-winning water conservation program? Could the water fraud conspiracy be that powerful?
It's too bad I do not have a Jerry Bledsoe that would write about the scam to get the Randleman Dam. I never got any help after I was terminated. I thank God that blogging came along. With the advent of the Internet I CAN fight city hall ...and the public can learn what the media does not dare to cover.
Want to see Greensboro's "Picasso" CHART on its water web page? (click here) Be sure to tell others to Google just two words--dam scam.
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