An email obtained by KCBD shows just how concerned Lubbock's mayor is about Lubbock Power and Light's future under the leadership of CEO Gary Zheng.
As we first told you last month, Lubbock's Electric Utility Board considered firing Zheng, but did not come to a final decision.
But an email we've obtained through an open records request is providing new details.
Mayor Glen Robertson sent the email to EUB Chairman Greg Taylor the day after the April 15 meeting.
In it, the mayor says seven of eight members present stated Zheng was "the wrong man for the job." But only two were prepared to take immediate action.
The mayor went on to say he's "very concerned," but hopes that with Taylor's leadership and their continued working relationship they can maneuver through the "minefield we find ourselves in."
Here's the complete text of the email Mayor Robertson wrote to Taylor on April 16:
Greg, I waited until today to write this email in a failed attempt to ease my frustrations over yesterday's EUB meeting.
First I would like to apologize for the behavior of Councilman Hernandez and Councilwoman Joy. Their comments were completely inappropriate and they both completely overreached their authority as Council Members. I was equally upset by Ms. Blakes and Mr. Bells comments and attitudes. With the combativeness of these four individuals, it is becoming more and more difficult to address the serious issues we have before us. I am very concerned that their unwillingness to have adult professional discussions will set us back and undo all of the progress we have made. I plan on addressing them in our next task force meeting.
I think the thing that continues to distress me the most is the solution I heard coming from the board. Seven of the eight members present stated that Gary Zheng is the wrong man for the job and that he is not a leader. But only two were prepared to take immediate action. I find the proposed solution to notify Gary that he will be terminated in ninety days ludicrous. The idea that you will inform an employee that he will be terminated in ninety days and then ask him to lead the effort in solving the largest issue facing the city is not a working solution. I was also troubled that the board would not allow high ranking employees to address the board. Two of the employees reached out to me after the meeting and informed me that they felt like the board does not care about LPL employees. The continued exodus of long term talented employes will eventually lead to the complete collapse of LPL and must be stopped. Employee moral is at a all-time low and this rests squarely on the shoulders of the CEO. I intentionally did not speak much during the meeting, hoping he board could reach a decision.
I'm sorry about venting on you, but as is probably apparent, I am very concerned about the entire LPL issue. I appreciate your patience and professionalism yesterday and especially your attempt to keep the meeting civil. Hopefully with your leadership and our continued working relationship, we can maneuver through the minefield we find ourselves in.
We'll continue to follow this story as we learn more.
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