If you believe the news reports and the way they have been slanted, the reason O'Sullivan Industries has cut salaries and benefits for its employees in Lamar is because it was forced to pay a $200,000 utilities bill to the city of Lamar.
A handful of Turner Report commenters have made the same argument...Lamar city officials forced this by not "trying to work with" O'Sullivan officials. That is nonsense. Some unavoidable business problems, combined with a series of misguided decisions put O'Sullivan Industries in the situation in which it finds itself.
It asked Lamar city officials to waive an approximate $1.2 million in utility bills, which would be paid at some unspecified date to help the company. My guess is O'Sullivan officials were well aware this idea was going to be rejected, but now the bad publicity, which for months has centered around O'Sullivan alone, can be shared by the City Council.
It is amazing to me that so many people are buying into this, people who would never even think about asking for an extra six months to pay their utility bills.
Hopefully, O'Sullivan Industries will rebound from its current woes, right itself, and return to what it once was, but history is full of examples of companies that have tried to get concessions and outright gifts from cities, then shut down without notice. Recent history has seen O'Sullivan moving its corporate headquarters to Atlanta to attract a CEO who no longer is with the company, and who brought a group of his Newell Rubbermaid buddies with him, who did nothing but continue to increase the company's problems. The company also shut down its South Boston, Va. plant and is moving more and more of its production overseas.
In this business climate, it is hard to believe any proclamations from new CEO Jim Malone, a Florida resident, about how eager the company is to stay in Lamar.
Hopefully, it will, but city officials are wise not to put all of their eggs in one basket.