July 1, 2009

Lewis Has Big Plans - For Your Money

The following is a communication from county manager Greg Lewis to a firm that had inquired about the county's wanting to participate in a "Green Fleet" program.

As County Manager, I feel it is high priority to launch a significant "green" initiative. We need to become sustainable as an organization.

I would identify "ends" or "outcomes" at the end of a green day would be:

- Green fleet
- All green buildings
- A green transportation strategy to move employees to, from, and around to assigned tasks and sites while at work
- A green transportation strategy to move citizens served when required to do so per County core functions
- A green strategy to deliver County core services to make the County safe and secure, assist the most vulnerable, and implement public infrastructure
- A green strategy to advance County economic development
- A green strategy to provide green administrative internal support The County is going to need to decrease its carbon footprint, become more organizationally sustainable, and decrease our costs and increase our productivity.

Now, I'm far from a tree hugger, but I recognize the value of "going green". Do I buy into the hype about global warming? Of course not...it's rhetoric and hyperbole at its worst. But I'll acknowledge the fact that there are environmental benefits from going green.

But once again, Lewis is making statements of his intentions with no concept of the cost involved. He's already got big plans for his "campus" plan, which will cost a minimum of $150 million. Now he wants green buildings and green vehicles. By the time Lewis has implemented his green plans and his campus concept, this county could be looking at a quarter of a billion dollars in expenses, all of which will be raised on the backs of homeowners and taxpayers.

It has to stop, and it has to stop now. From the day he arrived here (thanks Dennis & Renae), he has thought about one thing: his legacy. And while he may angling for the Gregory Lewis Public Works Facility to be constructed in his honor, the only thing we, the taxpayers, will be left with is a legacy of bad decisions and a mountain of debt at the hands of Greg Lewis.

Dump this guy now.


Paladin said...

C'mon Hobbes...this has to be Lewis' orders for the county's celebration of St. Patrick's Day, right? I mean, no one can be that brainwashed. I had a nephew whose 3rd grade class watched Al Gore's PowerPoint show, and for about two weeks afterwards, he kept worrying about the ice caps melting, the oceans rising, all that stuff. Then he went back to playing with his Transformers. Maybe Greg just needs a hobby other than spending other people's money...

Dark Knight said...

I am no fan of Greg Lewis, but explain to me what the harm is in trying to proactively look at green strategies for a specturm of services when eventually it's going to be a requirement?

Now, when the cost for these things comes back and it's exorbitant, then we'll see what Lewis does.

At least this is a little more thoughtful than his dumb ideas for county restructuring.

Barney said...

I agree with the Knight - their is nothing wrong with setting a vision.

lido said...

Maybe there is nothing wrong with looking at things like this, but the focus of expense is a legitimate one. Lewis originally pegged the cost of the new public works facility at $12-15 million. That cost is now $40 million. The guy hasn't exactly been a beacon of financial forecasting. If he wants to bring out his "vision" for going green, that's fine. But attach a cost estimate to it from the start. Anything else is him simply justifying his position by putting on Niagara County stationary something he read on a website somewhere else...probably Minnesota.

Dark Knight said...

Lido, how do you estimate the cost in the idea stage. You put something out there, get an estimate and then determine if the payback on that investment makes it worthwhile. And as you correctly point out, who would trust Lewis' cost estimates anyways?