THE HUNTER REPORT
LCUB BOARD - Henline,
Hines, Johnson SR, Garber (Knox), Mgr. Littleton, Chairman Aikens, Shields,
Simpson, Wampler, Beasley (Knox) (l)
17, 2011 Lenoir City Utilities Board Meeting (Picture - THE HUNTER REPORT)
Lenoir City Mayor/Aldermen: Mayor: Tony R. Aikens, Council: Mike Henline,
Douglas "Buddy" Hines, Bobby Johnson, Sr., Jim Shields, Eddie Simpson, Harry
LCUB staffs lobbyist
Garber both are voting members of LCUB’s nine-member board.
A Lenoir City Utilities Board customer
has taken issue with LCUB’s decision to hire a lobbyist that
also is a former state representative and a supposed political
ally of Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens.
Doug Gunnels was hired by LCUB as a lobbyist for a reported
annual salary of $40,000.
“My biggest concern, after getting a $642.59 utility bill for 34
days, is, you know, it’s a little upsetting to hear they’re
spending money so casually,” LCUB customer Pat Hunter said.
“And also, I’m like 80 percent of the LCUB ratepayers that do
not live in the corporate [Lenoir] City limits, so we have no
representation,” she added.
LCUB general manager Shannon Littleton did not immediately
LCUB’s Board largely is comprised of the same members of Lenoir
City Council, with the addition of two Knox County
representatives, both appointed by the Knox County mayor’s
office. One appointee, Joel Garber, also is a former Farragut
alderman. The other appointee is Pat Beasley.
“The people from Lenoir City elect the majority of the Board and
they can replace them. I can’t,” Hunter said.
Gunnels is listed on the Tennessee Ethics Commission website as
LCUB’s only lobbyist, and apparently the first. Other area
utility districts, such as First Utility District and Knoxville
Utilities Board, do not appear to have lobbyists, according to
the TEC website.
However, numerous other entities, municipalities and companies
do, ranging from Motorola to the Knoxville Chamber.
“I guess my biggest concern is the operation of LCUB,” Hunter
“We have no control over their spending, and a lot of it goes to
Board members and their relatives that they hire. It’s filled
with nepotism and patronage, and we have to pay for all of that.
“The worst thing is that they just keep adding more and more
relatives,” she added.
Hunter said LCUB had “come a long way” in their service, but she
was still concerned with the representation of Knox County
customers on the Board.
According to Knox County Mayor’s Office communications manager
Michael Grider, Mayor Tim Burchett could re-appoint or replace
Beasley and Garber when their terms expire.
LCUB, which is a multi-county utility district, operates via
regulations set down in special enabling legislation.
In a typical appointment process, Grider said, the Knox County
mayor would submit a name or several names to LCUB for a vacant
position. Lenoir City Council would approve one or more of those
names, depending on the number of vacancies.
Gunnels was not hired at the regularly scheduled LCUB Board
meeting in January. He apparently was hired at a specially
called meeting, and is listed as registering on the Tennessee
Ethics Commission website Feb. 1.
For more information on lobbyists, visit the TEC website at