Fort Loudon Electric election stirs interestBy Joel Davis thedailytimes.com
Members of the Fort Loudon Electric Cooperative will vote today to fill the District 5 slot on the utility’s Board of Directors in what has become a contentious race. The election will be held from 6-8 p.m. today at Friendsville Elementary School.
Incumbent Director Larry Henegar, who represents District 5, disputes information being circulated that alleges financial mismanagement at the utility.
“Our co-op is heading in the right direction,” he wrote in information released to The Daily Times. “I vote my conscience and feel it is in the best interest of my district and our co-op.”
Vernon “Buddy” Davis is challenging Henegar for the seat. He took out an ad in Wednesday’s edition of The Daily Times that took issue with the salary of the utility’s CEO and a $26,000 contribution made to his 401(K), an alleged $500,000 price tag for two new trucks, and two rate hikes last year among other things.
Jim Kendrick, chief executive officer of the utility, said that if Henegar is defeated, a “mountain mafia” would gain majority control of the Board of Directors. “It’s a total battle for control with these people down in Monroe County trying to take over an $100 million corporation,” he said. “If they get Mr. Henegar, they will have the majority, That’s what they are after.”
“I would definitely dispute that,” said James R. Pugh, the treasurer of the FLEC board. “... As CEO of Fort Loudon Electric, he is not allowed to interfere with the election of the Board of Directors. What he is trying to do, it sounds like, is influence the board. Trying to influence the board is totally illegal.”
Pugh said he was planning to file a lawsuit against Kendrick. “He’s trying to do things he’s not entitled to do.”