Thursday, September 06, 2007

Fannings give tour of Smart Home cited in Barton County Electric audit

The Joplin Globe has posted another story in its continuing reports on the controversial audit of Barton County Electric Cooperative, with this one including the announcement that Neal VanGilder will step down as president of the Cooperative Board, and information on a guided tour former Co-op CEO Jim Fanning and his wife Cheryl gave of their house, which if you have followed the audit controversy is at the very center of it:

Part of the trouble stems from nearly $300,000 in Smart Home technology and other features that members of the cooperative paid to put into the home of Jim Fanning, the former chief executive, according to an audit. Fanning retired Jan. 31.

He and his wife, Cheryl, offered a tour of their 4,800-square-foot home in Lamar on Thursday.

Everything in the home, from the lighting, TV, music and drapes to the heating and air conditioning, is wired through technology provided by Crestron Electronics Inc., of New Jersey.

When Jim Fanning was CEO, the cooperative became a dealer for the technology.

“I can set the bedroom at a different temperature, the closets at a different temperature, the kitchen,” Cheryl Fanning said. “And it makes the house more efficient.”

The home at 250 Southeast 15 Road has nine heating and cooling zones, with control panels in the master bedroom, kitchen, upstairs hallway and media room. With the push of a button, shades simultaneously lower on all windows in that room as the lights dim. An 8-foot projection screen slides down.

“It gave me time to get to my chair and sit down before the movie started and the lights went down,” Cheryl Fanning said.

The control panel has presets for lighting in the morning, afternoon, evening and at night.

Measuring 18 by 8 feet, the “control room” in the attic is climate-controlled, so the equipment does not overheat.

The home includes a $15,000 generator to maintain the temperature in the control room in case of a power outage.


Anonymous said...

It would probably be a good idea to closely audit every Electric Coop. Coops are notorious for taking care of their own.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that people are surprised by this. Jim was always very careful to keep people on the board that he could manage. Any member that ask too many questions or ask the wrong questions didn't last long. I think we have board members that were too trusting. Another example of intelligent people doing dumb things. $2.8 in salary and bonus while the co-op looses $4 to $6 million, sounds like a story out of corporate America. I'm sure Jim & Cheryl think they have won . . . they have the house and the money, don't they. Who is going to take it away from them?

Anonymous said...

This may be typical of most coops. They take care of themselves. They have a nominating committee that meets before an annual meeting and either reelect themselves or someone that they want at the helm. That way no one rocks the boat. Sooner or later they all get caught.

If they advertise a job, you might as well forget applying. They have the new hire already picked out and lined up. The advertisement for help wanted is a mere formality to keep legal.