Hard times at FP&L

Published 9:35 am Friday, March 16, 2012

An ad hoc citizens group that delved into the finances of Franklin Power & Light a few years ago — and that two of its members used as a springboard to successful City Council bids — needs to quickly reconvene.

The deteriorating fiscal condition of the city-owned electric utility blindsided taxpayers — and apparently even the City Council — when it came to light during Monday night’s council meeting.

City officials — from bureaucrats to elected representatives — have either been asleep at the wheel or have kept citizens in the dark while FP&L has plummeted from being municipal government’s cash cow to an entity in need of a serious cash infusion.

Either reason — ignorance or a cover-up — is inexcusable.

The City Council must demand not only a thorough accounting of the fiscal crisis but some answers on why it wasn’t made public sooner.

Council members Barry Cheatham and Benny Burgess — accountants who were members of a citizens group that was disturbed about FP&L’s finances as far back as 2006 — should lead the charge. They have the expertise to decipher the accounting mysteries, and they ran in 2008 on a platform of making city government more transparent.

Citizens deserve some answers.