The 2015 closing of the Entergy system operations center on Barraque Street in Pine Bluff and the elimination of 100 high-paying jobs is normally bad news. However, there is a ray of sunshine with a later report that many of the employees will be offered transfer options by the utility. The utility plans to offer transfer options within the company to a number of employees during the next two years and anticipates some positions will be reduced through attrition, said Entergy Arkansas spokeswoman Diane Tatum. We are not talking about entry level jobs.The positions at the system operations center include dispatch operators, engineers and account specialists who use their financial background to contract with other utilities to buy electricity when extra capacity is needed and to sell it when other areas are in need of additional power. Entergy is consolidating six facilities in four states into two centers to be located in Little Rock and Jackson, Miss. The 40 employee Entergy facility on 28th Avenue that houses distribution operations, customer service and some engineering will be unaffected by the consolidation. That’s good news. Any community takes a hit when 100 good jobs leave. Having two years notice gives us an opportunity to replace the jobs before 2015.
The Commercial is publishing profiles of the nine candidates for mayor of Pine Bluff. It is a sound investment in ink and newsprint if we can help voters reach an intelligent decision on the best possible man or woman for the job. We encourage every voter to become knowledgeable about every race and referendum in your home precinct. Take time to make yourself aware of the issues and individuals involved. If you encounter a candidate at a public forum, ask some tough questions. But most importantly, vote Nov. 6. Vote by absentee ballot or early vote. It’s your right and obligation.
Reporters spend a lot of time in courtrooms. You learn to pay attention and listen to what is said, especially those words uttered from the elevated platform occupied by a woman or man wearing a black robe. A circuit judge ordered Gould Mayor Earnest Nash Jr. held in contempt and jailed without bond Wednesday after the judge’s instructions were not followed, but released late Thursday. Circuit Judge Rob Wyatt of White Hall instructed Nash and his attorney, Hank Bates of Little Rock, about 9:25 a.m. to turn the keys to the recorder-treasurer’s office at Gould City Hall over to Pamela Barley-Gibson, who was appointed to the office in January, no later than noon. Bates understood the message and left Star City to track down the keys. Wyatt had reminded Bates that he had upheld Barley-Gibson’s January appointment as recorder-treasurer by the Gould City Council. Nash’s vetoes of the appointment were overridden each time by aldermen. “You may want to get counsel for yourself,” Wyatt warned the attorney if the office keys were not delivered by noon Wednesday, he would hold both Nash and Bates in contempt. A key was delivered at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday and Barley-Gibson said she went to Gould City Hall later in the day, but learned the single key would only gain access to the outer office. She had not been given a key to the inner office, or one to an exterior door or security codes for the alarm system. When Wyatt received a report that the court’s instructions had not been followed, a warrant was promptly issued for Nash’s arrest.