(This post contains Editorial comment below.)
In a short public meeting yesterday the board of Clarksdale Public Utilities approved a $4800 bid from Temperature Control to replace part of the heating and air conditioning system in the administration building; the improved system will allow the billing department to move to an area closer to the payment windows. The board also reviewed a concept for website development and public relations from Narrative 12; the Starkville-based company was retained last year at a cost of $4500 per month to help with public relations, and senior accountant Sheila Profit reported that during December expenses for CPU’s electric, water and sewer departments exceeded revenues by about $448,000. The board considered a personnel matter and potential litigation in executive session.
What is it with CPU and Starkville? (Editorial Comment)
ClarksdaleNews finds it difficult to remain neutral about the Starkville based PR firm that CPU recently hired. What seems so incredulous is that no entity from Clarksdale was allowed to bid on the project; the public was not even given the courtesy to respond to an RFP (request for proposal), and the actual hiring was done in secret within an executive session. All this is in addition to questions about how yet another Starkville based entity sub-contracted by the CPU Board can consistently and effectively understand, answer and help solve many key issues that the Clarksdale public has with CPU, most of which certainly will require regular meetings to gain trust with our concerned citizens personally to solve.
What is even perhaps more disturbing was that Starkville cornyism was a small piece of the recent issues that the public had with CPU (1) in the exceptionaly well known and heated concerns over the recent terminations of senior CPU executives, and (2) the legitimate public uproar of a large section of our population being faced with exceptionally and surprisingly high electricity bills.
With at least the first of these ordeals thankfully behind us, and the second somewhat less volatile until the inevitable return of high utility bill heat, a well-thought out and orchestrated public relations effort from CPU would certainly help the community further heal, and prepare CPU to better address and help find any solution to help ours that are in the most need.
With all of that, public relations from Starkville (done in secret) is CPU’s answer.