hit tracker <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d23615820\x26blogName\x3dCenLamar:+A+Blog+on+Life+in+Alexandri...\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://cenlamar.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://cenlamar.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d7276229209213654946', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Cleco Responds To The Town Talk Madison: From day one, Cleco has pushed to start this audit My Turn That's what we have been working for since the spring of 2004. In fact, the method for providing answers -- an audit done by experts acceptable to both parties -- is spelled out in our contract with the city.

The Town Talk was both ill informed and irresponsible in its July 7 editorial ["Citizens stiffed as Alexandria, Cleco dawdle"]. The claim that Cleco Corp. has tried to delay an audit of transactions with the city of Alexandria has no basis in fact.

It is a ridiculous assertion, and the people of Alexandria deserve the facts. My position hasn't changed from day one:

An objective audit should be done as soon as possible. If, at the end of the process, Cleco owes money to the city, we will pay it.

A business has nothing to gain from dragging out an issue with a customer. Every customer no matter their size deserves honest answers.

Within weeks after the city first raised concerns to us, we suggested a number of nationally known accounting firms capable of conducting the audit. When that effort failed to gain traction, we continued working with city officials to find qualified firms to audit our records.

For reasons best known to them, city officials instead decided to file a lawsuit against Cleco. Still, we worked to speed up the litigation and associated audit, not delay it.

What may be confusing to some is the lawsuit we filed against two former employees.

That is a completely separate issue. While there may have been a point of common origin, the lawsuit against our former employees is an employment-contract matter, and it has never delayed any audit between Cleco and the city.

We have never tried to keep an unbiased firm from auditing our records on behalf of Alexandria residents.

A federal judge is now overseeing what we believe will be a fair audit process, and we will continue to do all we can to move the audit forward. It is well past time to get to the real facts in dispute, rather than waste years and taxpayers' money in senseless court fights where the only winners are the attorneys and consultants collecting lucrative fees.

For two years now, the hundreds of Cleco employees who live in this community and contribute to meet its needs have endured potshots and watched the company they proudly work for have its name dragged through the mud.

When you look at the facts, there is no reason for this character assassination. Whether it is hurricane recovery, coaching the Little League, participating in local churches, or serving as Red Cross volunteers, Cleco and its 1,200 employees are here for this community and our customers. You don't stay in business for more than 70 years any other way.

We are -- and always have been -- ready for an independent audit.

  • Michael H. Madison is president and chief executive officer of Cleco Corp.