LCUB Public Notice

According to the notice above, there should be a meeting at 1:00 today (Friday). But according to sources Lenoir City Mayor Matt Brookshire has called for the meeting to be canceled but some board members have refused the mayor's request.

The contention stems from some members of council/LCUB Power Board wanting the called meeting to appoint members to the newly reinstated budget, salary and personnel committees and to discuss the future of the LCUB General Manager's position.

It's no longer a secret that a strong move is on by some members of the board to appoint Brookshire to the general manager's position. But this has raised major concerns among other members as to Brookshire's qualifications to replace his father-in-law in that position.

Last week by a one vote majority, the LCUB Power Board voted to reinstate the budget, salary and personnel committees. These committees were terminated shortly after Fred Nelson was appointed as LCUB general manager. Brookshire was opposed.

The Lenoir City Charter Article IV section 6 states:

6. Special called meetings. In addition to the Mayor, any
two members of the City Council may call for a special called meeting.

The charter clearly gives two or more councilmen the authority to call a meeting with or without the mayor's consent. 

A lot of political maneuvering is underway, some good some bad. This meeting has the making of the political shoot out at the OK Corral.


LCUB members reinstate committees
Tammy Cheek News Herald

Whether to reinstate committees to oversee aspects of Lenoir City Utilities Board resulted in debates between some board members during Monday's board meeting.   

The board members decided to reinstate three committees - budget, salary and personnel, made up of board members.  Board member Eddie Simpson supported the committees' reinstatement, saying he believes the board should take more control of LCUB.

He appeared to receive some resistance from LCUB General Manager Fred Nelson, who is set to retire in January. "When we had committees and would meet, we would have to make up questions to give to those committee members to ask those applicants because they (committee members) didn't know exactly what the job entails," Nelson said. He acknowledged operating without the salary and personnel committees is harder on the manager but maintained salary and personnel should stay with the manager. "I think it makes the job more beneficial to the rate payers," he said. "I still feel we should take back control of Lenoir City Utility Board," Simpson maintained. "That's what we were elected for. That's what we're expected to do is to represent the people. "I'm not saying everything's been done wrong. I definitely wouldn't say everything's been done right," he said. Simpson then made the motion to add the item on the agenda. Board member Tony Aikens seconded the motion. That motion passed four to three with Aikens, Mike Henline, Simpson and Douglas "Buddy" Hines voting in favor of adding the item to the agenda and Bobby Johnson Sr., Joel Garber and Pat Beasley voting against it. 


Before that vote, Mayor Matt Brookshire argued, in his opinion, the authority to hire personnel and control salary should not be a function of the board.  "The function of the board should be to sit back and provide leadership on policy, where the board wants to go in the future and how the company can best serve its rate payers," Brookshire said. "The last thing you want to do is put in the hands of elected officials the right to hire and the right to control salaries in political positions." "That's for the safety of the elected officials, as well as those who are being considered for salary adjustments or for hiring," he said. "Both of those things should be as objective as they possibly can, and it's hard for anyone to be objective when you are in an elected position and have the opportunity to affect salaries or hiring's. That is just a difficult position for both parties." "Mayor, that worked for 65 years before this system," Simpson interjected. "I guess there's some argument whether it worked or didn't work," Brookshire replied. "What most people think about in the community is how you get a job at LCUB. It's who you know."

"They know the general manager right now," Simpson said. "I object to that," Nelson said. 

"When you characterize it the way most people characterize it, any time there are job openings, the phone starts ringing off the wall, and the first thing out of their mouth is "I know, I've been trying to get on there for years and the only way to get on is to know somebody," Brookshire said. "That is not the kind of characterization that we should want for LCUB. "The kind of characterization we want for LCUB is the best way to get on LCUB is to be the best candidate," he added. 

Brookshire acknowledged four of the board members have relatives working at LCUB. "Look at the position it puts the board members in," he said. 

Board member Joel Garber said before the board votes on the committees, it should have a charter in front of it. 

Beasley said having the salary and personnel committees could undermine the manager's authority.

When the vote to reinstall the committees did subsequently come up for discussion, it was again four to three, with the board voting the same as before. 

(The board also) voted
to appoint a search committee to find a new general manager in lieu of Nelson's retiring.