THE HUNTER REPORT
LCUB dumps general manager
Board names Interim General Manager
LCUB Special Called meeting, Tony Aikens (l), Bobby Johnson SR., Joel Garber, Eddie Simpson (r). Shannon Littleton, back.
Utility ratepayers to pay for both!
By: Pat Hunter
October 23, 2009
The Lenoir City Utilities Board voted unanimously to name assistant general manager Shannon Littleton as interim general manager. The board's actions caught many off guard given that Fred Nelson had announced his upcoming retirement to take place Jan. 22, 2010. Nelson had received praise for his 40-years with LCUB after he announced his retirement. Nelson is the father-in-law of Mayor-LCUB Chairman Matt Brookshire.
The public wasn't allowed to speak or ask questions so I'll ask now. Why was Fred Nelson dumped, terminated or fired by the board? Why will LCUB ratepayers now pay for two managers for the next three months when Nelson was scheduled to retire in January?
A NOTICE was posted on Lenoir City Hall doors informing the public that the called meeting had been cancelled by Chairman Brookshire.
Noticeably absent at the 1:00 PM Special Called meeting was Fred Nelson, LCUB General manager, LCUB Chairman (Lenoir City mayor) Matt Brookshire and Gene Hamby (LCUB board member/LC councilman).
The Special Called Meeting began with comments from Shannon Littleton, assistant general manager to LCUB and legal council to LCUB and the City of Lenoir City.
Littleton informed the board that LCUB Chairman Matt Brookshire was not present. LCUB board member/councilman Tony Aikens moved with a second from Pat Bealey that if the chair did not show up that the Vice-Mayor conduct the called meeting. This was unanimously approved by board members Tony Aikens, Bobby Johnson, Sr., Joel Garber (Knox rep.,) Pat Beasley (Knox rep.), Mike Henline and Buddy Hines.
Littleton also informed the board how he had been given notice of threaten litigation concerning potential issues on some matters. He called for an executive session that wouldn’t last more than 5-10 minutes long. With that said everyone proceeded to the backroom.
Fifteen plus minutes later, board members and Shannon Littleton filed into the room.
Vice-Chair Eddie Simpson called the meeting to order, which he reconvened. Everyone knows that this is a special called meeting by the board and pursuant to the City Charter and proper notice was given to the public and board members. Roll call was taken by the secretary. There are two items on the agenda "Discuss and Consider Committee Appointments and "Discuss and Consider LCUB Manager Position."
click to see Agenda, below
The Agenda read more like a well script play. Simpson did not have any recommendations but he asked if anyone on the board had comments. We did approve to assign people to the committees was the discussion.
Tony Aikens led the discussion. He moved that the full board serve on the search committee including the mayor-LCUB Chairman for a new general manager. The motion was unanimously approved.
Tony Aikens moved to establish the following committees; Aikens, Simpson, Henline and Johnson to serve on the Personnel Committee. Beasley, Garber, Hamby and Johnson, Sr. to serve on the Budget and Salary Committee. The terms are to coincide with city elections for 2-year terms and that the chair be elected by committee members. The motion sailed through.
Aikens spoke of Fred Nelson's retirement of January 22, 2010; it creates "turmoil and rumors" with employees. He also spoke about Fred Nelson doing a tremendous job. But then Tony Aikens moved that the board pay Mr. Nelson through Jan. 2010 and his accrued sick time and vacation. He recommended that the board appoint the assistant manager Mr. Littleton with the rate of pay of Mr. Nelson until a new general manager is hired. Aikens wasn't sure about the pay. Littleton has been there for 6 plus years. He thought that was right for him to serve as interim general manager. Secretary Beasley asked for clarification and Aikens said through Jan. 22, 2010. The board eventually voted unanimously on Aikens motion after Shannon Littleton made a brief statement to the board.
Littleton appreciated the motion made by Mr. Aikens. Mr. Nelson was a very good manager commented Littleton. He informed the board that he felt that he had a conflict with the board and he could not advice the board on any issues related to the general manager or legal matters in this issue. He felt that he could give advice on other issues and he encouraged the board to do a regional search for a new general manager. If I am a candidate, it will show me my weakness's and strengths. The board owes it to the ratepayers to find the very best general manager, he concluded. Some on the board wanted to take their time looking for the right candidate for the job.
To see LCUB's Special Called meeting video click ON KNOXNEWS.COM Video: Friday's LCUB Meeting, recorded by Pat Hunter of THE HUNTER REPORT
Absent from Friday's 1:00 PM Special Called Meeting: Nelson, Brookshire & Hamby
Lenoir City Mayor-LCUB Chairman Matt Brookshire