John Maggitti Reflects on Service as Marshfield Utility Commission Seeks New Commissioner
John Maggitti began his service on the Marshfield Utilities Commission in October of 2014, initially filling an unexpired term before being reappointed by the City Common Council to a full five-year term in 2015.
One of five Utility Commission members, Maggitti has become fluent in the various aspect of the Utility, and sees himself as an advocate for ratepayers.
“Many people might read that as an advocate for the lowest possible rates, but that can’t always be the case,” said Maggitti. “Sometimes the best vote I can make on behalf of ratepayers is to vote for a rate increase that will cost a bit more now in order to save a significant amount over time.”
He provides the example of not borrowing to replace some water mains, instead, by raising the water rate now to cover these costs Marshfield Utilities is saving millions in finance charges over the significantly long duration of the project.
This knowledge didn’t accumulate overnight, but Maggitti has enjoyed the steep learning curve that began when he joined the Commission.
“Public power and public water are deeply involved in areas of technologies, regulations, common and best practices, and even politics,” he said. “I don’t believe I’ll ever master any of these, but learning as much as possible and applying that learning to my participation is very rewarding.”
After being appointed, Maggitti spent his first year focused on understanding what the utility was doing, what it wanted to do, and why it wanted to do so.
“The general manager and the senior water and electric managers made time for me early on to give me as full a background as they could,” he said. “Then came the behind-the-scenes technologies and finances. And of course there are many people to meet and understand their vital roles. Through state and national organizations you get the chance to learn other people’s perspectives and ideas. These are all immensely valuable.”
From there, Maggitti tackled deeper issues such as finance details and rate structure.
“Why do we ask the PSC for this rate structure? What are the pros and cons? What are the alternatives? Rates affect all of us every day. Getting the best rate case made is a balance between prudent financial policy for the utility and returning the highest possible value to the ratepayers,” he said.
Maggitti enjoys working with the other Commissioners, especially as President Mike Eberl led them through a recent five-year strategic planning process.
“This was a great opportunity for all five commissioners to express their visions about what our utility would be and do years from now,” he said. “Mike also brought in managers from the utility itself and we learned what their vision is. Combined, this led to a very clear idea of what the challenges and opportunities are in front of us.”
Coming from broad backgrounds and experiences, Commissioners have the opportunity to share ideas and views and work together to do what they believe is the most correct choice available at voting time.
“Everyone of us brings something of importance to the discussions,” said Maggitti. “I’m much better as a commissioner because of the readiness of my compatriots to help hone my understanding and views.”
Maggitti estimates his time commitment at about 300 hours/year, which includes 25 hours of meetings and the rest consisting of learning and participating in group sessions and educational workshops.
“Maybe it’s not necessary to dig as deeply into the minutia as I have so I’d suspect a reasonable time commitment might be 100 hours a year, which is about eight hours a month,” he said.
Coming from a technical background, Maggitti joined the Commission to use his knowledge and skillset to serve his community.
“I’ve served on other commissions and boards in the past and feel they are great opportunities to take whatever skills and wisdom we’ve gathered and put them to good use,” he said. “A public utility has to be operated in the best interests of the public. Being a spokesperson for my neighbors gives me a chance to give something back to a community that has been great to live in. It’s also a way to honor all those who came before me and gave us the great public utility we enjoy today.”
Maggitti is proud to serve as a Utility Commission and to work collaboratively with the staff at Marshfield Utilities to ensure the best possible outcome for Marshfield citizens and the community.
“Marshfield Utilities has some of the lowest rates in the state. They have received the highest awards for reliable service. The people who work for MU are our neighbors and our friends. MU funnels millions of dollars into our community and supports many important causes. And all of this is locally owned and controlled,” said Maggitti.
“If you’re considering putting your name forward as a potential commissioner I strongly encourage you. The investment in time is well worth the return of knowing you helped shape a bit of Marshfield’s future.”
From the City of Marshfield:
The Municipal Code of the City of Marshfield provides that the 5 member
Utility Commission is elected by the Common Council. The Commissioners
serve staggered 5-year terms. Mayor Chris Meyer asks that any residents of the City of Marshfield interested in serving as a commissioner on the Utility Commission submit to the Office of the Mayor a letter stating his/her qualifications and reasons for wanting to serve on the board. This letter must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 1st. The names of the interested persons will be presented to the Common Council at its September 12th meeting. The Common Council will elect 1 person to the 5-member board at its September 26th meeting.