There have been a lot of comments recently with regard to Councilman John Olshefski accepting a position with Huntsville Utilities. As many of you have, the HUNTSVILLE SOUTH Civic Association Board has read many of the articles and statements. Based on our experience with Councilman Olshefski and our understanding of Huntsville Utilities we are providing the following statement.
Since the formation of HUNTSVILLE SOUTH Civic Association in 2012, Councilman Olshefski has been supportive of our organization and on many occasions has assisted our organization in facilitating informative meetings and providing information to our Board. These efforts have allowed HUNTSVILLE SOUTH to further share information to the citizens of south
Huntsville and other south Huntsville neighborhood associations. Councilman Olshefski has been timely in response to our telephone calls, emails, and other communications to him as District 3 councilman. We have found Councilman Olshefski to be honest in his dealings with HUNTSVILLE SOUTH and we believe him to be a man of integrity.
It is hard to imagine that Councilman Olshefski would contemplate accepting the position with Huntsville Utilities without both he and Huntsville Utilities seeking legal counsel with regard to any ethic or other government organizational problem accepting the position might create. There are three actions for which the City Council votes with regard to Huntsville Utilities activities: (1) the approval of purchase / expenditure greater than $25,000, (2) approval of Utility Board appointees, and (3) increases in electrical and water rates. These items are brought before the council only after discussion and recommendation of the various Utility Boards, i.e. Gas, Water, and Electric. An increase in rates would be the more concerning of the above. The council approved a rate increase in 2011.
There are several unanswered questions. Can Councilman Olshefski properly serve the citizens of south Huntsville District 3 and perform his responsibilities in his position with Huntsville Utilities? Only the future will tell. Could his position at
Huntsville Utilities be a positive for south Huntsville residents with regard to Utility issues? We do not know if his position with Huntsville Utilities creates an ethics violation with the State law. But until there is proven an ethics violation or some other breach of law, Councilman Olshefski should serve out his term and honor those who voted him into the council position. Councilman Olshefski’s term expires in 2014, he must decide in the coming months if he can properly serve the citizens of south Huntsville District 3 and Huntsville Utilities.