Bill Mattox, the director of New Albany Lights, Gas, and Water (NALGW), has been named Grand Marshall of this year’s New Albany Christmas parade. The decision was made and announced by the New Albany Community Development Department a couple of days ago.
In two words: Terrific choice!
I agree with all the good things Community Development Director Billie Jean Stroud said about Mattox in her announcement. Without minimizing the contributions of Grand Marshalls of earlier years, I assert that, during the last decade, Bill Mattox has done more than any other individual to improve the “quality of life” in New Albany.
It’s no exaggeration to say that NALGW was the object of much justified criticism before the mayor and board hired Mattox in 2010. Electric power failures were frequent and unnecessarily lengthy prior to his taking over as NALGW Director. NALGW customers were fed up. Adding insult to injury, the official NALGW response to these many power failures had been persistent, sometimes hostile, denial that there was a problem.
When my family first moved here in February, 2000, we were warned that the “electricity fails in New Albany any time there’s a heavy dew.” Besides the many failures of electrical service, NALGW regularly delivered water to our kitchens and laundry rooms that was the color of strong iced tea.
Nine years later, not every electrical and water problem has been eliminated, but NALGW service has improved dramatically. First of all, Mattox acknowledged that there were indeed problems, and then he went to work with NALGW crews to make things better.
It didn’t happen overnight. I cannot cite statistical evidence. However, I don’t know of anyone who would not agree that electrical service is far better. There are still occasional failures, but, when they happen, Mattox is on line within minutes telling what he knows about the location and extent of the problems and when normal service is likely to be restored.
Did Mattox hire an entire new crew of workers? Nope. He simply gave consistent and honest leadership to the guys who keep the lights burning.
We still have problems with brown water from time to time, but not nearly as often. Mattox has seen to it that our water lines, many of them nearly a century old, have been back-flushed regularly. Many have been replaced with new pipe, and that work continues.
Congratulations, Bill! You’ve made Christmas merrier for all of us.
Grand Marshall announcement: http://nanewsweb.com/mattox-2018-grand-marshall/