Information from recent analysis of major financial institutions in the United States and around the world reveals that nearly all major financial institutions have suffered huge losses over the past year. The data furnished by Wilshire Associates, a global independent investment advisory and services firm, are shown below.
The terrible irony of all this is that the CEOs who led their companies to failure and bankruptcy receive enormous salaries for their incompetency. Richard Fuld, the longtime chief of Lehman Brothers took home nearly half a billion dollars in total compensation between 1993 and 2007, according to calculations of Equilar, an executive pay research company.
That amounts to roughly $17,000 an hour to obliterate the firm. E. Stanley O'Neal, the former chief of Merrill Lynch, retired last year after driving the firm over a cliff, and he walked away with $161 million.
Here is some suggested reading for those with vital interests in health care reforms and improvements in West Virginia. In the Sept. 17 issue of "ChamberLinks - The Voice of Business in West Virginia," W.Va. Chamber of Commerce President Steve Roberts, wrote a most interesting commentary regarding the health care reforms and improvements including insurance, electronic medical records, cost-shift, personal responsibility, educational needs, medical homes, community care clinics and other subjects. It's a worthwhile read.
There are two other subjects of compelling interest in this issue. The first deals with the success of the privatization of the workers' comp market. According to the state Insurance Commissioner Jane Cline, 105 insurance carriers have written workers' comp insurance policies since July 1. "This is evidence that the changes made to our system were well received," Cline said
The other is by the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management dealing with the formulation and institution of disaster plans and "disaster kits" for the work place and in the home.
Both of these topics, and other interesting information contained in the "ChamberLinks" publication, may be viewed at www.wvchamber.com.
While we're talking about suggested reading, I checked with the bookseller-giant Amazon.com and other major book stores like Books-A-Million and Barns & Nobel and Borders, and found what I suspected to be true: There was no run on the books I suggested everyone should read a couple of weeks ago, namely "The Limits of Power The End of American Exceptionalism" by Andrew J. Bacevich, and "The New Elite: The Truly Wealthy," written conjointly by Jim Taylor, Doug Harrison and Stephen Kraus. OK Oprah, don't be alarmed, I'm not going to be a threat to your suggestive powers over bibliophiles.
Elkins Mayor Judy Guye, Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Spears and Ed Griesel attended the ON TRAC seminar in Fairmont recently. ON TRAC is the precursor to becoming a fully designated Main Street Community - a program that promotes the preservation and revitalization of small towns. The city of Elkins tried to become a Main Street community several years ago but because of budget, staffing and other requirements, could not qualify.
To become an ON TRAC participant, a town has only to be incorporated, have a sponsoring organization and have a signed endorsement by the local government. Communities must participate in the ON TRAC programs for two years before applying to become a Main Street community.
"It is my sincere hope that the city of Elkins will make the effort necessary to submit an application and be chosen to participate in the ON TRAC program and later be named as a Main Street West Virginia community," Spears said.
For more information on either of these programs, call one of those mentioned above at 636-1414, 636-2717, or 636-2903 respectively.
It's time to apologize for another gross mistake - again. The Sept. 6 issue of The Inter-Mountain carried a story I wrote about the hard economic times the timber and lumber industries are now going through. In that article, I said that Wendell Cramer owner of Cramer Lumber Co. owned Coastal Lumber Co. One has to work hard to make a glowing mistake like that.
Knowing Mr. Cramer, I called him and apologized to him personally. He was a bit amused and jokingly said that owning Coastal probably wouldn't be a bad deal. Thanks Wendell for your understanding.
Not knowing who in or with Coastal to apologize to personally, I offer my apologies to all those who own and work for the company.
In the more than three years of attending the Downtown Merchants' meetings and reporting their discussions and activities that benefit the entire business community of the city of Elkins and surrounding area, I never once saw Ed Griesel's demeanor change. He has always been mild mannered when discussing his views in a level and controlled tone of voice and always one to consider the views of others. I see, however, in the latest issue of "Ed's Notes," his summary of the proceedings at the meetings that he has gotten his "dander up." It's about time.
Let me quote verbatim his comments under the heading Attention Needed: "Outside groups and individuals have been trying for a long time to help downtown businesses. Unfortunately, many of these businesses do nothing to help themselves, or downtown as a whole. It is apparent that more and more people are finding their way here and it is also apparent that a lot of them are not finding their way downtown. Why? Good question; there is probably a number of reasons and some of those reasons are beyond our control. However, some of those reasons are within our control, but we have to act to correct them. We have to act collectively to sell downtown to local residents and travelers planning to come here. The city needs to get real and earnestly take steps to clean up Elkins and enforce codes. We need to be creative by designing literature to promote ourselves, we need to get tour companies to include time to shop our stores and we need to make changes to the times we are open. Each of you is needed to work on these projects to complete them in a timely manner. It's time to take control of our fate."