Friday, June 19, 2009

Scratch One Off the List

The lowest hanging fruit just moved a lot higher up the tree. It sure looks plump and juicy, but it wont be pluckable. We will all have to just sit here and salivate. Much like the "poison pill" the Jets put in the Brett Favre contract last year (making it impossible to trade him to the ViQueens), EEI put a heckuva poison pill in the contract our beloved school board approved back in December 2005 (on a 4-2-1 vote, with Jim Gibbs and Caren Diedrich voting NO).

Board member Al Slane, and chair of the FTT, recently blew the dust off the contract after all the hub was recently bubbed. It seems that the contract states that if the district terminates the contract at anytime in the 4th year (into which we are halfway), the "termination fee" is $86,400. Since we only owe about 6 payments of $9,000/month ($54,000), it costs more to cut it than to keep it!

Things that make you go "hmmm":
(1) Why does someone put a contract termination fee equal to about 80% of the annual fee into a contract? Who does that?
(2) Who would enter into such an agreement? Isn't the termination fee like a some giant red herring that leaps up, tail-smacks you in the face, and says " By the end of year 1, you guys are gonna figure out that you could have done this on your own for free. We still want our $432,000, though, so it is what it is."

By the way (which happens to be a fine new tune from Theory of a Deadman), David Stackhouse is the only remaining boardmember who actually voted on this contract. Let's make that little factoid, Things that Make You Go "Hmmm" number (3).

So...nevermind, folks, we stand corrected. We are stuck with the energy management contract.

Just to make the record clear, with all the buildings we now have and the cost of energy, SP-EYE believes hiring an Energy Manager was a good decision. We think Greg Klaas has done a fine job of educating district staff on how much money can be saved --or should we say "costs avoided"---if the staff work collectively on strict adherence to some common sense practices. While many facets of the energy conservation program may seem like "no-brainers", it's often easier said than done when dealing with 11 school buildings and over 800 staff.

We appreciate Al Slane making the effort to look into this rather than blowing us off as has been done for the past 3 years.