TOP PHOTO: Tree trimming bids and the general manager’s contract and salary were topics of discussion at Tuesday’s LUB workshop and board meeting.

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – The LaFollette Utility Board met Tuesday evening with hourly tree trimming bids and the general manager’s contract and salary review topping the agenda. The board also met briefly in executive session due to “filed litigation,” according to LUB board attorney Kathy Parrott.

“A lawsuit has been filed in the Chancery Court of Campbell County involving construction up the valley,” Parrott said. No action was taken regarding the lawsuit at Tuesday’s meeting after the board reconvened from executive session. 

The general manager’s performance, contract and salary review were discussed during the workshop, which was held prior to the meeting. 

LaFollette Utility Board member Jay Willoughby said he had looked at 44 utilities that offer the same type of services LUB offers, in the same range of customer base and sales to use as a “measuring stick” on what range of a salary increase the board should recommend for general manager Kenny Baird. 

“I looked at those to see what their general manager makes. Currently we are in arears by some nine to 10 percent. I feel Kenny is above average and deserves a performance increase,” Willoughby said.

Baird’s salary is currently set at $200,637.

“In my opinion Kenny’s performance is right up there with anybodys,” said LUB Board chairman David Longmire. 

“He’s well thought of by his peers and is highly respected. He is conscious of the safety of the employees, and he has worked diligently with the city and the county,” Willoughby said. 

After returning from execution session, the board voted to increase Baird’s salary “more in line” with other utilities of similar scope, size and customer base.

Willoughby made a motion, in consideration of Baird’s 30 years experience with LUB and the advancements made under his management, to increase Baird’s salary to $219,675.

The board voted to renew Baird’s contract for five more years and set his salary at an average based on tha American Power Association’s recommendation and the average of other utilities of similar size.

The vote passed with four yes votes. 

LUB Board member Boyd Henegar was the only dissenting vote.

The board also discussed “hot spot” hourly tree trimming bids. The “hot spot crews” take care of various areas when the need arises such as during storms, etc. 

The bids are for hourly tree trimming rates.

ABC came in with the highest bid at $302 for the total hourly cost.

Brewster Services Group bid at $297.67 for the total hourly cost, while Townsend came in with the low bid of $192.52 for the total hourly cost.

Baird recommend the board accept the low bid of Townsend.

“Townsend will hopefully begin the first of July,” Baird said. 

The board also voted to declare some furniture and office items as surplus property as it is no longer used, according to Baird. The utility will publish what is available for sale in the press and will accept sealed bids on it.

Baird also reported that as of Oct.1, TVA will remove the 2.5 percent Pandemic credit on the wholesale cost.

“My recommendation is to pass that onto the retail rates at a 1.3 percent rate adjustment. As far as the budget goes, I’m going to assume that 2.5 credit goes away and will plan accordingly,” Baird said. 

Baird reported he would present the budget at the next meeting; the board will also discuss water rate schedules, which will be on agenda for next month as well.

The next LUB board meeting is Mon., June 26 at 7 pm. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 05/31/2023-6AM)