To the Editor:
Joe Gallucci's confused response to his performance on the Kent County Water Authority Board ("Citing Water Rates, Jennings questions Gallucci's loyalties," Beacon, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012) calls into question his ability to represent Ward 8 on City Council. There are two problems with his responses. First, he is blowing smoke on the issue of rate increases. Second, he is not being open to the voters in Ward 8 on the issue of his conflict of interest by sitting on both the City Council and the Water Board.
First, Joe states that the Board does not set rates; the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) does.
But wait a minute; the PUC does not go forward on a rate increase unless the Water Board asks for it. Joe finally admits this later in the article when he says, Anytime we ask for funds, there is a rate increase tied to it. Most of the time, when the vote is taken to go forward to the PUC with our request, I vote in opposition. Note his comment, "most of the time," which is just his coming in agreement with me from the other direction. In spite of his denials, Joe has voted for rate increases. Joe then talks about maintaining infrastructure ... and we have to maintain all that. This adds to rates. Have I voted to increase rates? No. We only vote to get funds for infrastructure. What is this nonsense Joe is pushing? The only way to get funds for infrastructure is to raise rates. If Joe won't talk straight to us now, what happens after he is elected and is sitting on City Council?
The second issue, and one that has me and a lot of the voters I have talked to very upset, is the conflict of interest from having Joe sit on both the Water Board and the City Council. It is simply not fair to Ward 8. When the Water Board votes to increase rates again and the voters in Ward 8 need a champion for their cause, they can only turn to Joe Gallucci, currently treasurer of the Water Board. Who will be looking out for Ward 8?
Joe knows this is a problem here. He said, if elected, he plans to contact the Ethics Commission and ask them if it is appropriate that he continue to serve. But this should have been settled before he decided to run. Worse, Joe won't even tell us which way he will go to City Council or the Water Board. Voters in Ward 8 have a right to know.
If Joe has his way, the conflict of interest issue will not be resolved until after the election. We in Ward 8 can settle it for him on Election Day, Nov. 6. It is a conflict of interest and we want no part of it.
Republican candidate Ward 8