In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Mr. Culbertson’s memory to Calvary Baptist Church, 2208 Canal Street, Port Acres, Texas 77640, or to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030. Complete and updated information may be found at: broussards1889.com. Next UpJames was an operator/ SMED for Motiva. He loved golfing, deer hunting, fishing, gardening, and being outdoors. James more importantly had a strong relationship with God and was a Deacon at Calvary Baptist Church in Port Acres. Survivors include his wife, Connie Culbertson of LaBelle; son, Jason Culbertson and his wife, Leslie, of LaBelle; grandchildren, Ashton and Braden Culbertson; sisters, Sherry Broussard and her husband, Kelly, of Beaumont; Amber Gallagher and her husband, Gary, of Friendswood; and Ginger Culbertson of Houston; brother, David Culbertson and his wife, Laurie, of Port Arthur; and a host of nieces and nephews. A gathering of Mr. Culbertson’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Monday, September 21, 2015, at Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland. His funeral service will be 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 22, 2015, at Broussard’s, Nederland, with interment to follow at Oak Bluff Memorial Park, Port Neches. James Arthur Culbertson, 56, of LaBelle died Friday, September 18, 2015. A native and lifelong resident of the area, he was born on April 22, 1959, in Port Arthur, to Wanda Faye Marze Culbertson and James William Culbertson.
— Tom Dunlop, Port Arthur It represents the strength and values of the highest traditions of this country. It signifies the pride we have in this country and our resolve that our actions will bring honor to this banner.It represents the aspirations of its people. It embodies the faith in the American tradition that we have worked for. (Editor’s note: This letter was originally addressed to then-U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman in 1996 and recently submitted to The News as a letter to the editor.)Our flag is a symbol of the majesty of a great nation. It serves as a beacon of hope to all. May our flag continue to strike a responsive cord in the hearts of free men everywhere. Long may it wave over the land of the free and home of the brave.
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org The merger of Green Mountain Power and Central Vermont Public Service will result in the elimination of about 116 positions through attrition and retirements over the next five years, according to a document submitted to the Public Service Board from the utilities.The workforce of the merged company will be reduced by an additional 23 positions when the smart meter program is implemented.Gaz Metro, a Montreal-based corporation, which owns Green Mountain Power, has offered to buy CVPS, the stateâ s largest electric utility. The combined company will serve eight out of 10 Vermonters. The merger deal is now under review by the Public Service Board and is expected to be approved in May.Gaz Metro estimates the labor savings to be worth about $110 million over a 10-year period. That figure is part of an overall estimate of $226 million in savings, about 59 percent of which would go to ratepayers. About $82 million in savings in the first five years would be used by Gaz Metro to cover the costs of the acquisition of CVPS, according to utility officials and PSB documents.The average employee for CVPS makes $71,428, not including executive pay; the average Green Mountain Power worker earns $77,383, excluding executive wages, according to documents filed with the Public Service Board.CVPS now employs 532 workers; GMP has 206 employees. In all 715 Vermonters work for both companies. That total would be reduced to 599 after five years.The two utilities have overlapping service areas, and the merger will create an opportunity to eliminate redundant operations and maintenance services.The workforce reductions will not be made through layoffs, according to Dorothy Schnure, communications director for Green Mountain Power, but through attrition and expected retirements. About 40 percent of the workforce would be eligible to retire within the next five years, though the company expects a number of employees to continue working past retirement age, she said. The utility will not offer incentives to retiring workers, Schnure said.â This is not a typical pattern where a company comes in and makes immediate changes to the workforce,’Schnure said. â The changes will take place more slowly. Itâ s more the Vermont way to do it, without the layoffs.âThe headquarters for CVPS is in Rutland and city officials have worried that all the cuts would be made in central Vermont.Schnure says Green Mountain Power, based in Colchester, made a pledge to Rutland â to make sure the decrease is proportional.’According to the chart, 47 jobs would come from CVPS and 27 from Green Mountain Power. An additional 44 jobs would be eliminated and the locations for those job cuts has not been broken down in the chart. None of the positions, including executive roles, have yet been identified, Schnure said.Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, said CVPS executives will receive golden parachutes worth millions. The total compensation for company higher ups is projected to be $18 million, plus additional perquisites.â I think itâ s shameful weâ re taking comfort in reducing rates to ratepayers by eliminating jobs,’Mullin said. â Itâ s unfortunate, but I canâ t help but think a significant portion of those jobs will be in my region. Rutland will get part hard hit by the deal, but thereâ s no stopping it. I would hope the PSB would calculate all these factors into the decision-making process.âAs part of the deal, Gaz Metro has offered to create a new downtown headquarters in Rutland and to make the city a center of solar innovation. April 10, 2012 vtdigger.org
Vermont Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding released the November 2013 General Fund (GF) revenue results today. General Fund revenues totaled $79.95 million for November 2013, -$3.37 million or -4.05 percent below the monthly target. Year to date, General Fund receipts were $505.38 million, -$1.09 million or -0.21 percent below the cumulative target. However, General Fund receipts were +$17.71 million (+3.63 percent) ahead of the same period for the prior fiscal year (FY 2013). November is the fifth month of fiscal year (FY) 2014.Spaulding said, ‘Though we are slightly behind projection for the month of November, we are still on target for this fiscal year and we remain solidly ahead last year’s collections – and last year was a very strong revenue year. Through November, General Fund tax revenue collections exceed last year by 3.63 percent.’Current targets reflect the Fiscal Year 2013 Consensus Revenue Forecast adopted by the Emergency Board at their July 23, 2013 meeting. Statutorily, the State is required to revise the Consensus Revenue Forecast two times per year, in January and July; the Emergency Board may schedule interim revisions if deemed necessary. The January 2014 Emergency Board meeting has been scheduled for January 16, 2014.Net PI Receipts for November were $38.77 million, -$2.02 million or -4.95 percent behind the monthly target of $40.79 million. However, year to date, Net PI Tax receipts were $255.37 million, +$0.92 million or +0.36 percent above the target of $254.44 million. Compared to the same period of the prior fiscal year (FY 2013), Net PI Tax receipts are +7.55 percent ahead.Personal Income Tax (PI) receipts are the largest single state revenue source providing approximately 52 percent of total GF revenue. PI Tax receipts are reported Net-of-Personal Income Tax refunds. Net Personal Income Tax is comprised of PI Withholding Tax, PI Estimated Payments, PI Refunds Paid, and PI Other.Corporate Income Taxes are also reported net of refunds. Net Corporate Income Taxes receipts were recorded at -$2.14 million for the month, which represents $1.71 million decrease from the monthly target of -$0.44 million. Year to date, Net Corporate revenues were $20.69 million, -$4.26 million below the cumulative target of $24.96 million, and -$6.21 million below the same period of the prior fiscal year.Spaulding said, ‘Though we anticipated a large amount of Corporate refunds in November, the actual amount of refunds was larger than expected. We continue to watch Corporate closely as it provides our largest area of concern.’Consumption tax results for November were both negative for the month: Sales & Use Tax receipts of $17.83 million underperformed target by -$0.30 million (-1.64 percent); and Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $11.84 million were below target by -$0.26 million (-2.12 percent). Year to date, the results for Consumption Taxes were mixed: Sales & Use Tax receipts of $97.10 million was behind target by -$0.22 million (-0.22 percent); and Rooms & Meals Tax receipts of $64.46 million exceeded target by +$1.78 million (+2.85 percent). Compared to the cumulative results from the prior fiscal year (FY 2013), Sales & Use Tax fell short by -0.74 percent, and Meals & Rooms exceeded the prior year results by +5.52 percent.The remaining non-major tax components include Insurance, Inheritance & Estate Tax, Real Property Transfer Tax, and ‘Other’ (which includes: Bank Franchise Tax, Telephone Tax, Liquor Tax, Beverage Tax, Fees, and Other Taxes). The results for the remaining non-major categories for November were as follows: Insurance Tax, $7.88 million (+34.99 percent); Inheritance & Estate Tax, $0.66 million (-25.29 percent); Property Transfer Tax, $0.92 million (+11.98 percent); and ‘Other’, $4.21 million (-19.42 percent). Cumulatively, the results for the remaining non-major categories were: Insurance Tax, $16.51 million (+23.84 percent); Inheritance & Estate Tax, $10.48 million (-16.33 percent); Property Transfer Tax, $4.97 million (+5.75 percent); and ‘Other’, $35.81 million (-1.97 percent). The cumulative non-major components total of $67.77 million, is +$3.35 million or +5.19 percent ahead of receipts for the same period of the prior fiscal year (FY 2013).’ Transportation FundSecretary Spaulding also released the non-dedicated Transportation Fund Revenue for November. Total non-dedicated Transportation Fund receipts of $19.29 million for the month were ahead of target by +$0.84 million (+4.53 percent), against the monthly target of $18.46 million. Year to date, the receipts of $104.72 million were +$1.80 million, or +1.74 percent above the cumulative target of $102.92 million. Compared to the same period in the prior fiscal year (FY 2013) the non-dedicated Transportation Funds exceeded the prior year by +12.27 percent.Results for the five non-dedicated Transportation Fund revenue components for November were mixed. Individual Transportation Fund revenue components for November were: Gasoline Tax, $34.29 million or +1.23 percent above target; Diesel Tax, $6.52 million or +1.78 percent ahead of target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $25.50 million or +4.88 percent above target; Motor Vehicle Fees, $31.09 million or +0.79 percent above; and Other Fees, $7.32 million or -2.00 percent below the monthly target.The Secretary also reported on the results for the Transportation Infrastructure Bond Fund (’TIB’). TIB Fund Gas receipts for November were $1.63 million or -6.03 percent below the monthly target. TIB Fund Diesel receipts for the month were $0.17 million or +31.13 percent ahead of target. Year to date, TIB Fund Gas receipts were $8.69 million or -5.40 percent short of target and cumulative TIB Fund Diesel receipts were $0.68 million or +6.49 percent above target.Net total TIB receipts through November of $9.37 million were -6.61 percent behind the same period for the prior fiscal year (FY 2013).The secretary said, ‘November results showed growth in Gasoline, Diesel and Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use receipts. The Transportation Fund continues track above target on a year-to-date basis.’’ Education FundFinally, Spaulding released the ‘non-Property Tax’ Education Fund revenues (which constitute approximately 13 percent of the total Education Fund sources). The non-Property Tax Education Fund receipts for November totaled $12.96 million, or -$0.74 million (-5.43 percent) below the $13.70 million target for the month.The individual Education Fund revenue component results for November were: Sales & Use Tax, $9.60 million, or -1.65 percent below target; Motor Vehicle Purchase & Use Tax, $2.29 million or +11.86 percent; Lottery Transfer, $1.06 million, or -43.82 percent; and Education Fund Interest was less than $0.01 million for both receipts and target, or +5.25 percent above target. Year to date Education Fund receipts of $72.65 million were -0.36 percent below the target of $72.92 million. The November 2013 non-property tax Education Fund receipts are +6.55 percent ahead of the results for the same period in the prior fiscal year.’ ConclusionSecretary Spaulding concluded, ‘Revenue collections are performing as projected and the increasingly positive economic news nationally, as well as the good news from Washington, DC on a potential budget deal, may well provide a boost to Vermont’s economy going forward.’Source: Vermont Agency of Administration 12.13.2013. Note: Minor differences in figures are due to rounding.‘
John StichtJohn Sticht, of Jennings, Haug & Cunningham, has been elected to serve on the Arizona State Bar Construction Section’s Executive Council as Secretary. Prior to accepting a one-year term as an officer for the leadership council, Mr. Sticht served for three years in an “at large” position on the council. His term as secretary commenced on July 1.Sticht’s legal practice is focused primarily in the areas of construction and surety litigation, bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and general business and insurance litigation matters. He graduated of the University of Arizona where he received a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science in 1993 and Master of Science in Sports Administration in 1995. In 2004, Mr. Sticht earned his law degree from Arizona State University College of Law, where he graduated cum laude.The Construction Section of the State Bar of Arizona has more than 400 members. This Section of the bar conducts monthly meetings, offers seminars on important construction-related topics, and fosters communications among its members with the construction industry.The Executive Council consists of a Chair, Chair-Elect, Past Chair, Secretary, Budget Officer, three Members at Large, a Young Lawyers Division Representative, and a Board of Governors liaison. The Members at Large are elected to serve three-year terms; all others serve one-year terms.Sticht resides, with his family, in the Moon Valley neighborhood of Phoenix.
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Jonathan Goldsmith is secretary general of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, which represents about one million European lawyers through its member bars and law societies. He blogs weekly for the Gazette on European affairs The struggle over the financial limits for small claims is an issue which is traditionally difficult for lawyer policymakers, because of the apparent conflict between public and private interests. The raising of personal injury claim levels in the UK has caused a fuss, and now the topic has appeared on the EU justice agenda. I can think of two different policy areas in the past where the apparent conflict also occurred. When law centres began to be established in the 1970s, there was an argument as to whether the Law Society should waive the conditions on practising certificates to allow free advice to be given to anyone off the street by someone with the status of a lawyer employed by a third-party organisation. Privately, many feared that free advice would erode the market of high street solicitors – until it was discovered that many law firms established themselves around law centres, and were making money from their referrals. The arguments disappeared. Similarly, many countries still ban foreign lawyers from entering their jurisdictions because their lawyers fear that the big Anglo-Saxon firms will erode their market share. This is despite the fact that markets which have opened – for instance, Hong Kong or Brussels, never mind London – have found that local firms benefited from the influx of foreign lawyers, and picked up clients and expertise. Now the European Commission is carrying out a consultation on the European small-claims procedure, and one of the issues is whether the current qualifying limit of €2,000 should be raised. In the one corner, there is the pro-lawyer argument, which can look to unsympathetic outsiders like corporatism (‘consumers need legal advice if they are to be successful in a claim’) and, in the other, the representatives of consumerism (‘claiming your rights should be cheap and easy’) – although to unsympathetic outsiders that can also look like cutting costs without concerns for justice. When lawyers put arguments against raising the limit on small claims – the European consultation raises the possibility of an extension to €10,000 – it immediately looks as if we are trying to protect our market share, particularly in times of economic crisis. But it seems to me that the question of market share is irrelevant, since the outcome can go either way. That is why I have given the past scenarios above about the result for market share in different legal circumstances. Of course it might mean that citizens will not use lawyers for larger claims. But at present the European small-claims procedure is hardly used at all. The counter-argument is that, if the limit is substantially raised, more citizens might use it, and may well turn to lawyers for help in cross-border cases. Similarly, the consumerist argument about access to justice, and its counter about cutting costs without concern for justice, slug themselves to a standstill, at least until the test is tried. That is why I prefer the purely public interest argument that citizens should benefit from legal advice before making a claim. It is true, and borne out by experience. I know of two liberal countries where the courts have led campaigns to bring lawyers back into litigation, on the grounds that it is more efficient in terms of time and money, and leads to a better administration of justice. (I stress that my organisation, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe, CCBE, has yet to discuss the question of small claims, and so these are purely personal views.) So what is the European small-claims procedure? It was established on 1 January 2009 in all member states other than Denmark through Regulation 861/2007. It was introduced for the usual reasons: to simplify and speed up small-scale cross-border litigation, and to reduce costs. It has the following features: there is a written procedure, but with the possibility to hold a hearing; there are multilingual standard forms; there is no mandatory legal representation; the loser-pays principle is limited to reasonable costs; it encourages the use of IT, for example videoconferences – and the use of technology will grow, since the small-claims procedure is one of those being piloted in the e-CODEX project, linking up member states’ e-justice systems, which will in due course make more electronic legal transactions a reality; it is available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and judgments are directly enforceable in other member states. After almost five years of use, the European Commission is carrying out this assessment, with a view to presenting a report by the end of the year, accompanied, if necessary, by a proposal for revision. The deadline is 10 June 2013. It is not too late to give your views – only don’t mention market share…
The solicitors’ representative body is on collision course with the legal complaints handler after refusing to support plans for a 20% budget increase.The Law Society said today that the Legal Ombudsman had given little information about why it needs an extra £2.4m for 2020/21. This would increase the ombudsman’s budget to £14.8, paid for by the profession.The Office for Legal Complaints announced in December that the increase would cover £1.2m on additional staff, £400,000 to improve feedback to the profession, and £800,000 for IT and inflation.But in its official response the Society states that it can not support such figures, particularly when many lawyers are dissatisfied with the ombudsman’s performance.The response states that the OLC is seeking a significant increase but ‘has not provided information about how the increase will be funded or any evidence-based explanation or assurance that this will result in a clear improvement in service delivery both to legal service users and providers’.The ombudsman ‘needs to address’ the profession’s main concerns, namely delays in investigation and decision-making, unrealistic time scales for responding to correspondence, inconsistent decisions and a failure to keep service providers informed.The Society points out that in 2017/18 and 2018/19 the OLC underspent its budget by nearly £900,000 in each year as the number of complaints accepted for investigation fell.The proposed need for an increase in staff levels is therefore ‘difficult for us to understand’, the Society states. While the OLC expects to close more cases in 2020/21, there is no explanation for how such a figure has been calculated.Meanwhile OLC figures suggest that staff turnover was as high as 18.5% in March 2019 and exceeded 15% for the previous two months. The Society suggests addressing this should be a priority for the service, along with reducing the backlog in cases and using existing resources to reduce delays.The response concludes that the OLC has not provided ‘credible evidence’ to support the requested increase, and the profession has little appetite for any such change.It adds: ‘If yet more costs are enforced on the profession, solicitors will be left with little choice but to pass them on to clients, which could further undermine access to justice, an outcome clearly at odds with the broader public interest.’The OLC will respond once its consultation closes. The Legal Services Board will then be required to approve any budget changes and the subsequent contributions from the profession.
URUGUAY: The Ministry of Transport & Public Works has received three bids for the Ferrocarril Central contract.The public-private partnership deal would cover the upgrading and subsequent maintenance of the 273 km line between Montevideo and Paso de los Toros. The three bids opened on May 29 were submitted by:Via Central consortium: Saceem, Berkes, Sacyr, FNG; Acciona Construcciones; C-Mec and SDHS of China.Following a 30-day technical evaluation, the economic proposals will be assessed.The scope of the modernisation works would include double tracking, raising axle loads, grade separation and the construction of a section of new alignment.