CAMDEN, ARK. (KTVE/KARD) — According to many comments made at the Camden City Council meeting on Tuesday night, November 29, 2022, streetlights seems to be an issue between the city of Camden, Ark., and Entergy. During the meeting, Alderman Laurence Askew inquired about the condition of street lights in the city.
Camden News reports that Askew said, “It’s black around my house…Not pinpointing nobody, but until we come up with a solution to get something done…”
Ben Wooten, Camden Code Enforcement Officer, answered saying, “Our solution is not to deal with Chris Wasson.” This comment was made referring to the Customer Service Representative for South Arkansas, Chris Wasson.
Wooten continued saying, “That’s who we go to when we have a problem. We’ve had three meetings with Chris Wasson. He told us three different ways to enter the lights that are bad. We agreed We had an agreement on how were going to work through this process. We went out, wrote everything down.”
Ben said that two city employees went out and entered data for two days about the locations of unlit light poles, but he claims that Wasson deleted the entries. Wooten alleges that Wasson deleted the entries deliberately saying, “They don’t want the company to see how many lights are in the city.”
Chris Wasson says, “That’s not accurate at all,” denying the allegations. Wasson said that, in the summer of 2021, a new method was implemented for reporting street light outages. It went from a fax number to an email system, meaning municipalities could email Entergy to produce a work order.
Chris says he sent “subsequent emails” to the city to let them know about this change in process. He said that Ben Wooten stated, “Well, we’re faxing them in,” in which Wasson responded, “No, you can’t fax them in anymore.”
According to Wasson, it was decided in a meeting, with Camden city officials, that the city would mark a map of all the disabled lights and Entergy would work from that map. Chris says tickets were deleted in the system once they started showing up in order to avoid a backlog.
Wasson said, “I called the mayor back and the city back and said, ‘Just checking on the status of the map. That was the plan, that we would work all the lights that were out based on this map. Then going forward we would work on reporting them properly.’ They said, ‘Well, we just changed the plan and decided we would report them.'”
Chris Wasson said he contacted Mayor Julian Lott who told him they were still committed to the plan with the map. He said he has sent several follow up emails to the city, but with no response so far.