Day two of Judicial Hearings regarding Johnson Utilities was a marathon, as Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Director Trevor Baggoire, a witness called by the ACC, was questioned throughout most of the day.
Most of the morning was spent with the ACC Staff going through the 53 Sanitary sewer overflows that Johnson Utilities has had over the last three years. This list took all them all the way to lunch time. I am sure it was easy to eat lunch after talking about raw sewage spilling all morning!
The ACC staff and a local resident spent much of the day trying to get Mr. Baggoire to take a stance on wether the Arizona Corporation Commission should place an interim manager, but he stuck to his guns saying that he and ADEQ will remain neutral. “It is outside of the scope of my authority to decide wether an interim manager should be involved, that is for the corporation to decide.” He said.
The neutral stance of Mr. Baggoire frustrated a few local residents, as they wondered why the ACC staff would call a witness that was not obviously on their side. “It’s no wonder there is little trust in the ACC. Watching the staff lawyer(s), the witnesses they pick, the lack of questions or understanding, it’s truly amazing they have a job. It’s almost like they are intentionally sabotaging the case. It’s no wonder why people think they are being paid off or are otherwise corrupt.” Said one San Tan Valley resident.
When Mr. Baggoire was asked if Johnson Utilities had the most sanitary sewage overflows in the state he responded that no they did not. They are second with the City of Phoenix being number one. He was then asked if the City of Phoenix had a larger customer base, and all around facilities he responded with, “much larger.”
According to the latest census data available Phoenix has over 1.6 million residents. When you compare that to the roughly 35,000 accounts that Johnson Utilities has it is hard to imagine why JU would be anywhere close to Phoenix in terms of violations.
Another interesting item was when local resident John Dantico questioned the handling of many issues in the record keeping of Johnson Utilities. According to the docket Johnson Utilities was not measuring a critical part of their waste water treatment facility, so the employee in charge of this was re-trained. Two years later guess what? Still no accurate logs!
“Now I am just a resident but I would think that if this company was capable of running properly their employees would still know their job two years later.” Said Mr. Dantico.
As of the end of today’s hearing Johnson Utilities attorneys had not gotten the chance to cross examine Mr. Baggorie, so there should be some interesting details to come tomorrow as the hearings continue at 9:00 AM.
If you would lie to watch the hearings live you can do so at http://azcc.gov/livebroadcast.asp