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Eileen Stewart: Cites accomplishments of HCG staff


Monday, October 02, 2017
Cites accomplishments of HCG staff

I am struggling to reconcile the recent article about the Hampshire Council of Governments staff bonuses (“HCG hands out bonuses to staff,” Sept. 21), with the reality of the organization and the critical work it provides to the local community.

First, the headline implies that HCG is profligate with public funds, which is emphatically untrue. HCG does not receive any funding from the state. It supports itself with fee-for-service offerings, which, in turn, support community-benefiting, public-spirited programs. Like all municipal entities, HCG examines every expenditure with great care.

More importantly, the Gazette completely missed the important news by focusing on bonus details. In fiscal year 2016, there was an operational surplus of almost $90,000. In fact, it is not until the very end of the article that the writer points out that, far from running at a deficit in fiscal year 2017, the year for which the bonuses were awarded, HCG actually ended the year $47,142 in the black.

Everyone clamors for government to be run in a more businesslike fashion, which includes rewards for outstanding work. HCG through its entrepreneurial spirit and dynamic electricity program services has managed to provide real services to citizens and towns without taxation. This hard work, and “can-do” spirit of the staff has provided real results for HCG and therefore staff deservedly received a one-time bonus as a recognition of their work.

As Dolly Parton famously wrote, “I’d like some respect to be reflected in the check.”

HCG staff, through its innovative programs like Hampshire Power, Hampshire Renewables Net Metering, SREC brokering and low-cost power supply to municipalities, has shown how to make innovative services pay for themselves.

Every cent HCG earns goes back to supporting the communities of western Massachusetts. HCG is entirely funded by its own revenue. Like any business, HCG staff deserve to be rewarded for the successful work they do.

Eileen Stewart

Williamsburg

The writer is the Williamsburg representative to the Hampshire Council of Governments.