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In California, pernicious regulation rides again

BY Ken Clark

The California State Water Resources Control Board is proposing new regulations on stormwater runoff and containment that the Lumber Association of California & Nevada (LACN) has called "controversial, costly and unfair."

According to Ken Dunham, LACN executive director, the regulations affect lumberyards and any business with a physical outside yard. LACN Government Affairs Chair and LACN Second VP Augie Venezia presented his views and those of the LACN at an Aug. 17 workshop organized by the Water Resources Control Board.

"The irresponsible, arbitrary, unscientific and flawed proposed storm water runoff regulations could well be the final straw for many California businesses," said Venezia, president of Fairfax Lumber & Hardware Co., located in Fairfax, Calif. 

Read Venezia’s full statement here.

Dunham further objected to the rules on the grounds that they were arbitrary, unproven and unsound. 

"It is interesting to see the number of California municipal governments that are telling the board much the same as private business — that the rules are too costly, not clearly drafted and without clear benefits," Dunham told members in the LACN’s newsletter. "It was disconcerting to see the chair of the Water Board and one member, whom you would assume are listening objectively to the comments, make statements that they didn’t care about the cost and they ‘intend to move forward’ on the rules. So much for objectivity."

 

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Lowe’s takes heat for store closings

BY Brae Canlen

Lowe’s announcement on Aug. 15 that it was closing seven stores around the country has brought some swift reactions from politicians, community leaders and local media outlets.

Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski issued a press release the same day saying: "I was disappointed to hear that Lowe’s decided late Sunday evening to close their retail store in Kenai, one of four stores they operate in Alaska. It is my understanding that the store’s employees, the City of Kenai and the community had very little notice of the company’s action.”

In its second-quarter earnings report, Lowe’s described the stores in question as “underperforming.” The locations were also not disclosed. The company’s public relations team subsequently answered media inquiries about the rationale and choices of stores, but some communities were still outraged.

In the case of the Lowe’s store in Ticonderoga, N.Y., the Press-Republican noted that the store had only been open since February 2009, took years of planning and zoning discussions, and enjoyed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that gave it reduced taxes for 10 years. 

But the newspaper seemed just as bothered by the way Lowe’s handled the layoffs. “After the workday ended Sunday, the 86 employees of the store were gathered together and told that Lowe’s would not be opening the next morning — or ever again for that matter… You don’t call in 86 people and tell them they are out of a job as of that moment. That is heartless.”

In Riverdale, Ga., WSBTV interviewed former Lowe’s employees who had been informed of the store’s closing Sunday night and then escorted from the building. 

A Lowe’s spokeswoman told Home Channel News that all the employees will continue to receive pay and benefits for 90 days and are able to apply for open positions in other Lowe’s stores.

Lowe’s closed seven stores, which it mentioned in its financial results but did not elaborate on. But Lowe’s spokeswoman Julie Yenichek identified the locations as Meriden, Conn.; Riverdale, Ga.; Elgin and Schaumburg, Ill.; Kenai, Alaska.; Cambridge, Minn.; and Ticonderoga N.Y.

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Whirlpool names new CFO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Whirlpool has announced that Roy Templin, EVP and CFO, will retire from the company. As part of the planned transition, Templin will remain in his current capacity until April 2012 to complete Whirlpool’s year-end reporting and other transitional items. At that time, Larry Venturelli — currently SVP corporate controller, chief accounting officer and CFO for Whirlpool International — will succeed Templin as EVP and CFO.

"Roy Templin has been an impactful leader at Whirlpool Corp.," said Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool chairman and CEO. "During his tenure at Whirlpool, Roy was critical in helping to lead the company’s successful acquisition of Maytag Corp.; build robust financial controls processes; and strengthen the company’s talent, control and risk management systems. Following his long and successful career, he is embarking on a long-planned second stage in his professional endeavors."

Venturelli joined Whirlpool as assistant corporate controller in 2002. He was promoted to VP investor relations in 2004, to VP controller and chief accounting officer in 2006, and to VP and CFO for Whirlpool’s North America Region in 2008. He was named SVP corporate controller, and chief accounting officer and CFO for Whirlpool International in 2010. Prior to joining Whirlpool, Venturelli held various financial positions at Royal Caribbean Cruises, Campbell Soup Company and Quaker Oats. Venturelli earned a master’s degree in management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from DePaul University.

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