Letters: LIPA’s consultant use raises ire, questions

A Long Island Power Authority in Belle Harbor, A Long Island Power Authority in Belle Harbor, Queens. (Nov. 12, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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I am outraged, but not surprised, at findings by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Moreland Commission about the overpayment of fees and expenses by Long Island Power Authority management to Navigant Consulting in return for little or no value.

How dare they submit bills with costs of up to $500 per hour? What’s worse, these bills were never questioned and were approved by executives at LIPA who now work for Navigant, including former interim chief executive Michael Hervey.

Does this not smell of, at the very least, a conflict of interest, or worse?

When the federal investigation reports its findings, that report should include a number: the amount LIPA overpaid Navigant. Then we ratepayers should insist that the overpayment be returned to LIPA and refunded to its ratepayers.

Until then I will withhold 10 percent from every LIPA bill payment in protest against incompetent management and possible illegal payments. How about you?

Steven Haar, Bayville

 

Short-term use of consulting firms to achieve business goals provides internal growth and enriched education for employees. Long-term use of consulting firms indicates a critical weakness and codependency where internal growth is stymied and the cost of doing business more than doubles unless there is a creative tax advantage.

Regarding LIPA’s use of Navigant: How many aren’t qualified for their positions and need to consistently rely on consultants? What a cozy relationship to work both sides of the desk.

Rosemary Fuchs, Hicksville

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Editor’s note: The writer, now retired, hired consultants and acted as one herself during a career in business.

 

Your June 26 news story “Consultant on hold” spotlights a wasteful practice by government agencies and authorities: Hiring overpaid and underperforming consultants to do jobs that salaried staffers can do better, cheaper and with much greater accountability.

The New York Power Authority pulled the plug on Navigant, a consulting firm under investigation for charging LIPA excessive fees while producing poor results for ratepayers.

A consultant is someone who looks at your watch and charges a high fee to give you the right time. Hiring one is like hiring Jerry Sandusky to baby-sit your kid.

New York’s legislature must ban all state agencies and authorities from hiring consultants unless they can prove that their employees can’t do the job as well and cheaper. 

Richard Reif, Flushing
 

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