READY FOR BUSINESS … BPA (Bryan Board of Public Affairs) for BMU (Bryan Municipal Utilities) met for the June 21, 2022 meeting. Chatting before the meeting began are Board members Karen Ford, Dick Long and Annette Schreiner. (PHOTO BY REBECCA MILLER, STAFF)
By: Rebecca Miller
Many complimentary statements were made during the June 21, 2022 BPA meeting, about what a great job Derek Schultz has done during his probationary position as Operations Manager of BMU.
HR Director, Jackie Schlachter, shared with the Board that Schultz’s “experience and knowledge in the public utilities has been beneficial in his transition to the roll of Operations Manager.
His even temperament, willingness to research to root causes and his integrity have guided him as he has further developed his leadership skills.”
“He continues to gain more knowledge daily in the electric and communication industries and is highly regarded by his subordinates and peers.” She requested that he be moved from Probationary to Operations Manager. The board voted to approve her recommendation.
Dick Long commended Schultz for all he has done to get to this ppoint and that he has earned it and deserves it. Director of Utilities, Nathan Gardner, said he has certainly made his life easier.
Schlacter also asked for a status change for Chris Yager in the electric department, for a proposed increase in pay from $15.45 to $16.00 per hour.
She stated, “Chris has been a part of the BMU since 2020 as a part time laborer to assist with meter reading, is a great member of the team who encourages all with his positive attitude while going over the expectations of a part time employee.” The board voted to approve this recommendation, also.
They also approved the hiring of Noah Landel as a part time electric department employee. He will work three days a week assisting the line workers and potentially helping with meter reading.
He has a diverse background and experience from ground and building maintenance, operation of heavy equipment, as well as some electrical work in industrial. Schlacter clarified that adding a part time position does not affect the budget at all as this remains well within the budget.
In regular business the board voted to approve:
-Minutes of June 7, 2022
-Resolution to authorize the director of Utilities to execute and agreement with Anixter, A WESCO Distribution Inc. company, for the electric departments 34.5 KV to 69 KV Line conversion project materials at a cost of $159,695.39.
-Payment of bills
Nate Gardner and Board member Dick Long both shared some thoughts on what they learned at the American Public Power Association’s National Convention.
There were over 1300 there so it was a great networking experience. They got to attend large meetings and “breakout sessions” and said it was a good educational experience.
He specifically mentioned an economic forecaster who spoke and the things he heard from her: that the supply chain should get better within the next 16-18 months but that the labor issue of not having enough people to fill all the job needs is going to be long term.
She explained why, and Long said it helped his perspective as she explained that the younger generation is all working, there are just not enough people to go around right now.
Much of that is due to the mass exodus from the work force of those who were close to retirement and decided to go ahead and retire when covid hit. The population is declining and so there is a huge shortage of workers without an immediate fix.
Last year there were 400,000 less newborns than normal, and this has been the trend, causing the decline. Gardner said that years ago they would have 100 applications for one job in BMU and now they feel lucky to get ten and they have had to lower the requirements for new hires.
The way to stay a healthy business is to take care of your people, treat them well and not have a high turnover.
Everyone congratulated Derek Schultz for his promotion, and welcomed Noah Landel to his new job.
Schultz mentioned that the back-up generator has arrived, it has been installed along with the transfer switch. There is a little left to do, but they hope to have it all done by the end of July. Alpine Drive has had a new systems water main put in and tested. That is going well.
Long said that “for a community with 8500 people we have a lot of assets.” At the conference there were people asking how such a small community could have so much. “We’re blessed to have what we have. Everybody has been so forward thinking in upgrading our infrastructure.”
He thanked the directors for their great job and forward thinking that makes this a great place.
Jim Salsbury piggybacked on that, agreeing that they are “fortunate and unique.” “We manage to hit our quota in renewable and the employees are the biggest part of that. We are lucky to have them and to keep them.”
The Board then went into an Executive Session to discuss acquisition of property. Following that, with no action taken, they adjourned.
Rebecca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org