LCUB starts process to hire new general manager

Hugh G. Willett,
LENOIR CITY - Lenoir City Utilities Board directors met in a special called meeting this week to discuss the job description and search process for a new general manager.

The board is tasked with finding a replacement for retiring General Manager Fred Nelson, who was removed in a special called meeting last month. Nelson had planned to retire in January 2010.

The board elected Knox County representative Pat Beasley to chair the search committee, with board member Eddie Simpson acting as vice chair.

The search committee, which includes all members of the board, was aided by Knoxville lawyer Bud Gilbert, who is advising the committee. LCUB attorney Shannon Littleton, acting as interim general manager, recused himself from the search process.

Gilbert provided the committee with an agenda and several sample GM job descriptions, including those from utilities in Clinton and Knoxville, but cautioned that the city charter limited the GM/CEO responsibilities in ways that were unique to Lenoir City.

Foremost among those limitations was the issue of personnel decisions. According to Gilbert, some utilities granted the CEO the power to make hiring and salary decisions, but the Lenoir City Charter vested those powers in the board.

Where those powers rest was the subject of some controversy during discussions that led to Nelson's early retirement.

Board member Tony Aikens made the motion to adopt a 2003 job description which was created specifically for LCUB in its last GM search. In 2003, the board elected not to conduct a search but to elevate Nelson to the position.

The job description includes requirements for a four-year degree in engineering or business administration, five years of experience with LCUB or a similar utility and a certified power executive (CPE) credential or similar education from the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) or another utility organization.

A minimum salary of $130,000 per year was established by the board. The salary could be adjusted based on the qualifications of the applicants.

"We can keep some room for negotiation," said Joel Garber, Knox County representative on the board.

The board voted to advertise the position locally and regionally, depending on the cost of ad space, with a Dec. 4 deadline for receiving resumes.

Gilbert advised the committee that to comply with the state open records law, resumes will be open to public scrutiny. A private search firm could be hired to screen the resumes and provide confidentiality, he said.

Lenoir City leaders begin search for new LCUB manager

Tammy Cheek News Herald

Lenoir City Utilities Board's search is on for a new general manager. The board Monday took action to begin that search. LCUB board member Tony Aikens made a motion, seconded by Mike Henline, for the following:

Appoint board members Pat Beasley as chairman and Eddie Simpson as vice chairman of the search committee. 

Go with LCUB's present job description set out Sept. 23, 2003. 

Advertise in the local and Knoxville area newspapers, and possibly advertise in the TVPPA publication and other publications, if not cost prohibitive.

Have attorney Bud Gilbert to stay on as counsel on the search. 

Start taking applications immediately and set a deadline of Dec. 4 for receiving applications. 

Include a minimum salary of $130,000, negotiable with experience. 

Simpson explained Gilbert has represented the city several times before when there was a possible conflict in using the City Attorney Shannon Littleton, who is the assistant general manager of LCUB and a potential candidate for the general manager position. Simpson said Gilbert also is a main consultant for utilities boards. Littleton did not attend Monday's meeting. 

Last September, Freddie Nelson, who had 43 years with LCUB, announced his decision to retire from the general manager position effective Jan. 22. LCUB members, during an Oct. 23, called meeting, chose to pay Nelson through Jan. 22 but replace him immediately with Littleton as acting manager until a permanent replacement is selected.