Randolph resigns from board

Vicky Newman-News-Herald

Longtime Loudon Utilities Board member and chairman, Jack Randolph, submitted his resignation from the board Monday. "This is the last time you'll see me, fellows," said Randolph, who has served on the board 26 years and whose current term expires June 31. He recommended appointment of Vice Chair John Hutton to lead the board, and the recommendation was unanimously ratified by remaining board members.

Appointment of a new board member will fall to Mayor Judy Keller.

Randolph indicated he was resigning because of health reasons. "It's just gotten too hard to get here," he said, waving a hand at the portable oxygen tank he requires when he travels. "It takes three people to get me in here and get me back home."

The resignation came after Randolph called a brief executive session for discussion of a personnel matter. Also after the executive session, the board voted unanimously to restructure LUB operations. Lynn Mills, LUB manager, said the restructuring will mean that the customer service office at the LUB Operations Center on Maremont Drive will be closed, and the customer service function will be returned to the LUB administrative office at 201 Alma Place. The downsizing was because two administrative office staff members are leaving, one resigning and one retiring. "We decided to recombine those offices," Mills said. "At one time it (the additional office) was needed but we are not experiencing the fast growth now that we were."

In other action, the LUB:

Finalized the contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. The approved contract included 1 percent raises for employees and some changes in medical insurance coverage. It provides that LUB may change carrier and the type of plan to maintain satisfactory coverage. It also maintains that beginning in July 2012, medical claims will be reevaluated to determine if projected cost savings were achieved and if employee benefits will be reduced or employee contributions will be required.

Approved a natural gas rate for October of $3.9662 per dekatherm. The amount translates to a rate for customers of $1.06 per 100 cubic feet of gas - 6 cents less than last month.

Approved a request from Doyle Arp for the LUB to sponsor a Philadelphia Alumni Faculty and Friends Golf Tournament scheduled for Oct. 10 at Rarity Bay; and a request by Loudon High School Band for LUB to help fund the cost of a band trip to a football game. Both donations were approved with Randolph casting the sole vote against them. The board had approved a list of charitable contributions at budget time, and board members said they intended to fund only those items listed. Randolph had said he felt it was unfair to use utility funds for contributions when customers were unable financially to support their own charities. He reiterated that position when he voted against the two motions.

Before parting from the meeting, Randolph said he took pride in the fact that all finances had been handled legally and in the best interest of the utility and its customers.