Ben Dover Time

SUBHEAD: Ben's a nice guy and we're sure he actually believes in what he says and what he does. Buuttt... By Andy Parx on 8 December 2011 for Parx News Daily - ( Image above: Mashup of Bernad and Ben by Juan Wilson. From ( Our "extra" post yesterday- a news item on Ben Sullivan's hiring by the county to be the new Energy Coordinator- was confirmed in a county press release today. But apparently others weren't as caught off guard as we were. We heard from quite a few readers saying that they were Casablanca-style "shocked-shocked" that Sullivan parlayed his short stints as founder and head of Apollo Kaua`i and election to the Kaua`i Island Utilities Coop (KIUC) Board of Directors into a well-paid job in the administration of Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. But looking back on Sullivan's rise from FOB malahini to appointment to Carvalho's crony-filled staff shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who watches the administration's hiring practices and has interacted with Sullivan since his election to the KIUC board. We began getting them soon after Sullivan's election- emails, comments and phone calls increasingly expressing disillusionment and dissatisfaction with Sullivan's apparent unwavering shift from perceived dissident to KIUC defender of the realm. It came to a head with his support for the whole FERC-FFP deal followed by the propaganda- some say misinformation- driven vote that allowed the co-op to go ahead with federal involvement in hydropower projects rather than rejecting FERC in favor of strictly state oversight... especially given the potential for federal "trumping" of the more environmentally-protective local regulations and approval process. But that alone wouldn't be enough to be a "good fit" for the yes-men and women that kow-tow to Carvalho, in an administration where "never is heard a discouraging word" from appointees... or at least not if they expect to serve in their "at-the-pleasure-of" positions for long. Sullivan didn't just support board decisions as is required under KIUC rules- he firecely defended them. Board Rule 27 mandates lock-step public adherence to board-determined positions and policies and requires all public statements by board members to be cleared by either the chair or (get this) the CEO. The latter creates a potentially unethical if not illegal situation whereby employees of the not-for-profit are directing members of the board. He has seemingly relished engaging members of the public in support of those positions and dove in head-first in a rare-for-Kaua`i trait of personal engagement with dissidents... of which there are many when it comes to the electricity coop. And that is what has made Sullivan a perfect fit for the Carvalho administration. It seems to matter not that he is an architect by education and, although his non-profit work has dealt with electrical power issues, one would think that a highly paid, highly skilled position like this would be filled by someone with training and/or experience in the field... although that hasn't stopped most of Carvalho's appointees from landing jobs with a notable lack of credentials. Sullivan has proved his worth to Carvalho simply through his ability to stick to the guns of his higher-ups, as evidenced by his stick-to-it-ive-ness in taking on all comers in defending the KIUC realm. It matters not that he is a relative newcomer to the island or that he is a not "local"- usually a negative for patronage hires under Carvalho. It matters only that he is ready, willing and able to act as a human shield for arrows directed at his boss. We like Ben. He's the nicest of guys and actually we're sure he actually believes in what he says and what he does. It's likely he will bristle at this analysis of why he got his "dream job." But given the history of the hiring practices since Carvalho took office just over three years ago, it's hard to come to any other conclusion. .


Anonymous said...

I really like your sense of humor, Juan.
It gets me through the day sometimes.
Ben Dover Time lololololololol

Juan Wilson said...

Aloha Anonymous,

Thanks for the compliment, but it should go to the author Andy Parx. I only supplied the image of Ben and Bernadette.


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