Dairy fears reduced services, lay offs

Representatives from local small business Morning Glory appeared before the Susanville City Council Dec. 5 to garner the city’s assistance to stand against Prison Industries Authorities attempt to acquire the dairy’s sales from the prisons.

Joshua McKernan, Morning Glory’s president, and Mike O’Kelly, its CEO, drafted a letter to council members detailing the circumstances surrounding their appearance.

O’Kelly and McKernan spoke before the council to fight PIA’s attempts “to take $1.3 million in gross revenue” of milk and egg sales from Morning Glory.

In their letter to the council, they explained that Morning Glory has provided milk and eggs to local prisons, specifically High Desert State Prison and the California Correctional Center, for the last 55 years, and that “when the prisons were first built in Susanville, and upon every enlargement thereof, the constituents of Susanville were always promised by the Department of Corrections that local goods and services would be utilized whenever possible in order to help mitigate the negative impacts that institutions of this size invariably have on a small community such as ours.”

The letter further states that the loss of revenue for their small business would also cost the prison $110,000, and possibly create the need for “expanded cold-storage facilities to deal with twice per week service” by switching to PIA.

They write that not only would PIA’s acquisition of their milk and egg sales cost them more than a million in gross revenue, but it would affect the placement of half of their workforce.

O’Kelly and McKernan wrote that “several times now, PIA has tried to take our business, and each time our elected powers-that-be have stepped up and prevented this from happening.”

Being the primary provider of eggs, milk, cheese and bread in the area, the representatives write, “we receive three to five truckloads a week allowing us the luxury of promising next day service to every customer within our service area at a reasonable price. Without the volume of prison product on board our truck loads, we could only afford two trips per week, which would negatively impact not only our service, but also put an upward pressure on the prices that every hospital, restaurant, school and store in our area currently receives from us.”