Lubbock's Electric Utility Board considered the continued employment of LP&L Director and CEO Gary Zheng on Wednesday afternoon. The vote to terminate him failed.
It was a heated debate when the issue came up for a vote with Charlie Dunn brining forward the motion. He continued to talk about the situation before Jerry Bell interjected. Chairman Taylor intervened asking Dunn to wrap up his comments for going off topic.
The vote failed 6 to 3. Clayton Isom and Charlie Dunn voted to remove Zheng while James Conwright abstained, accounting for the third vote.
"There are constant issues with RFPs, there seems to be no lack of controversy and I believe that a new, fresh leadership would eliminate most all of those issuses," said Isom. "There are board members that feel very strongly on both sides of the issue and I feel very strongly that this organization needs a different direction in leadership. So far the new members on the board have not been able to coalesce around the issue of new leadership."
Electric Utility Board Chairman Greg Taylor defended Zheng.
"Gary Zheng has a tremendous amount of talent, ability, he's a tremendous asset to LP&L and those abilities are important to what we're trying to do," he said. "If we were to have an incident like we had a year ago with the power outage, we need a Gary Zheng there to run the shop so it's really about what's best for the continuance of LP&L as we go forward."
Taylor feels the board is doing what's best for the people of Lubbock.
"He's a lightening rod, there's no doubt about that but the asset that he is to LP&L and to the City of Lubbock is what weighs heavily on our boards mind," said Taylor. "Evaluating his skill set and how he performs his job as CEO is definitely the responsibility of our board."
Even with the heated atmosphere chairman Taylor says the board is focused on the same goal of doing what is best for Lubbock.
"We have a lot of opinions, we have a passionate discussion and I can tell you that this board is much closer than it may appear from your perspective. We are much closer in dealing with the essential elements of the managing of LP&L than it may appear from your point of view."
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