Lubbock Mayor praises EUB decision

Published: Jul. 7, 2014 at 10:17 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 7, 2014 at 10:39 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson says the Electric Utility Board made the right decision on Monday when they officially fired LP&L CEO Gary Zheng.

"I really hesitate to second guess the LP&L board on this. There are a lot of things that they discuss in executive session that you can’t talk about in front of the public. You always have to be afraid of litigation and what would the cost be to the taxpayers if you didn't do it," said Mayor Robertson.

"It needed to happen, it's done and it's behind us so that's the key thing. It needs to be something that now that it's done we've got to get that behind us and we have to move forward with 2019."

"They inherited, I think, a very flawed severance agreement and then they had to make the tough decision do you enforce the severance agreement or do you attempt to fire for cause and attempt to fight the legal battle that would probably ensue. That EUB, the electric utility board, they're paid nothing and they take a lot of heat for every decision that they make but I can tell you they poured their heart and soul into this decision and I give them all the credit in the world for it."

The big question in Robertson's eyes was who was going to pay for the $700,000 severance package Zheng will receive.

"That was the question that I asked in executive session is where's the money going to come from and it turns out they have excess funds in unfilled positions," said Robertson.

Robertson says now the focus must be power generation in 2019 and it must be a united EUB and City Council effort.

"The good news is that this did not interrupt what we're doing for 2019 generation. The consultants are still hard at work, they made a presentation to the council and the EUB last month, I think everything's on track there," he said. "I think the hiring of Interim CEO David McCalla was a tremendous choice by the board, this is a very qualified individual, he knows his business, he's extremely level-headed and I think he's a very good man and I think through the leadership of David McCalla and hopefully James Loomis on the city side that we will get there."  

Going forward Robertson believes LP&L customers will be better off with the new leadership but he asks for patience as tough decisions continue to be made.

"We still have some of the cheapest rates in the state. Now they are asking for a 5.75 percent rate increase. The one thing I would tell everybody is although I will probably vote against this rate increase there will be future rate increases, there are going to be future increases in water we're to the point where these resources are costing the city more and more," he said. "But I can tell you this is nine men and women who really want to do, I think, what's right for the city of Lubbock and I just ask our rate payers to please be patient with us and let us work through this process."

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