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December 18, 2009

Blue Ribbon Committee to Convene on Burlington Telecom

Members of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Burlington Telecom have been named, and the seven-member panel will meet for the first time Monday night to begin its work evaluating the utility's financing options as well as its viability.

The committee — appointed by City Council President Bill Keogh — will meet at 7 p.m. in conference room 12 in Burlington’s City Hall. Hopefully, the committee meetings won't drag on quite as long as recent council meetings related to Burlington Telecom. Those council meetings have gone well past midnight in some instances.

The council created the committee at its December 14 meeting, the same meeting where it scuttled a deal with Piper Jaffray in lieu of seeking bids from other potential financiers. Those requests for proposals were sent to more than a dozen potential bidders this week.

At its December 7 meeting, the council also expanded the powers of the Burlington Telecom Advisory Council – giving that citizens' panel greater authority to oversee BT's finances and operations.

The special blue ribbon panel is comprised of three city councilors and four citizen members. Keogh consulted with Mayor Bob Kiss in making the citizen appointments.

Councilors serving the committee are: Joan Shannon (D-Ward 5), Karen Paul (I-Ward 6) and Clarence Davis (P-Ward 3).

The citizens appointed to the committee are:

• David Provost, senior vice president for finance and administration at Champlain College, who will serve as the committee's chair;
• David V. Parker, operations director at, a Burlington company which provides online marketing services to the automotive industry;
• Patrick Robins, chairman and co-founder of Symquest Group, a South Burlington company focusing on technology services; and,
• Bill Shuttleworth, who recently served as the executive director for the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.

The Blue Ribbon committee is charged with assessing BT's viability in terms of:

• Its current debt load;
• Additional financing necessary to comply with its certificate of public good;
• Industry and technology trends; and,
• Developing projections based on these trends and financial analysis of BT to determine its ability to repay such financing, and to preclude the necessity for relying on the resources or full faith and credit of the city.

The commission is also charged with assessing all available options for the financial structure of BT including but not limited to: the Piper Jaffrey financing offer; other possible financing options; joint venture or equity sale; outright sale of BT; and, other options recommended by consultants.

The committed is slated to report back to the council with its recommendations on or before the council’s January 15 meeting. 

The resolution also established a Liaison Committee to the council related to BT's litigation pending before the Vermont Public Service Board. The Liaison Committee is made up of the three council members of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

In other BT-related news, the city has responded to the Department of Public Service's 124 questions related to BT's finances and operations. You can download a PDF copy of the response here (3.1 MB): (Download BT Response to DPS 3rd Set 12-11-09)

Personally I feel blue ribbon panels should be left to judge zucchini at the fair. Hopefully this blue ribbon panel gets to the bottom of what kiss and Leopold have done to the credibility of city hall.

Isn't this the panel that should have been created BEFORE Clavelle committed the City to the BT adventure in the first place? At a very minimum, shouldn't Kiss and Rasputin have done this before they secretly and illegally loaned BT $17 million? Or, at the latest, before they dared to ask the City Council to approve $60 million in new debt financing?

C'mon! Leaving aside the illegal loan scandal, it's a scandal that this is the first time a panel like this is being established! THAT'S a scandal. And, of course, it wasn't the Administration's idea, but was forced on them by the Council.

Oh, but I forgot. Progs always know what's best and they don't need to consult their constituents on things like, say, giving away valuable city property on the waterfornt to the YMCA or creating and financing a city-owned telecommunications company. In fact, they actually RESIST getting voter input on things like this.

State authority chief resigns unexpectedly
Author: DANIEL BARLOW Vermont Press Bureau
Date: October 6, 2009
Publication: Times Argus, The (Montpelier-Barre, VT)
MONTPELIER - The executive director of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority, the state agency charged with bringing 100 percent Internet access to the state, unexpectedly resigned last week.

It was not clear Monday if William Shuttleworth, the Authority's first executive director since it was formed two years ago, was fired or left on his own.

- I heard he was fired, check your sources. Despite the "credentials" he appears to bring, this may have been an poor decision.

I hope leopold. is not apart of this. I have a lack of trust like many others for leopold. the only way i see BT moving on is
frist finish burlington so everyone who wants BT will have it.
keeping Leopolds hands out of BT.
And not expanding until this is done and BT is making a profit.

Finally, Propecia Online, the voice of reason!

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