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Littleton named LCUB GM

Lenoir City Utilities Board unanimously voted to hire Shannon Littleton, LCUB attorney and interim general manager, as the permanent GM.

Search committee chair Pat Beasley said LCUB had conducted a full search for the position.

“As evidence that we had a far reaching search, we had people [apply] from as far away as Wyoming and Pennsylvania,” she said.

LCUB received 29 total applications, which eventually were narrowed down to two finalists.

“Based on … that interview we had with Mr. Littleton, the search committee would make a recommendation that we appoint Mr. Littleton as our next general manager.

“I submit that to you in the form of a motion,” Beasley said.

Councilman Tony Aikens seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously.

“Sounds unanimous. Congratulations,” Lenoir City Mayor Matt Brookshire told Littleton.

Not so easily passed was an agenda item proposing a new assistant general manager, Littleton’s former position.

Beasley nominated current accounting finance manager Suzan Williams. Councilman Bobby Johnson Sr. seconded the motion.

Brookshire asked if the new job title would lead to a new salary.

“We’ve not met on that,” Beasley said.

Lenoir City Vice Mayor Eddie Simpson said the matter hadn’t come before the personnel committee, which was in charge of all hiring decisions, at all.

“The personnel committee should have been involved,” Simpson said.

Brookshire asked what Williams’ new duties would be, since she would not be able to perform the same duties Littleton had, as she was not an attorney.

Brookshire also asked if it was more pressing to hire a new attorney, since Littleton no longer was serving as attorney for either LCUB or Lenoir City.

Beasley said she assumed Williams would keep her current duties and simply have a new title.

“She would only be taking over the GM position if the general manager was unavailable. That’s the only change I see in her position,” Beasley said.

An unidentified LCUB employee stood in the audience and asked if the position of assistant GM had been advertised at all, even internally.

“May I ask if any other employees were looked at on this? Most of us just found out about this today and I’m sure there are quite a few who would be interested in it … if we did have the opportunity,” he said.

“It sounds like all the Board wasn’t aware of it either,” Brookshire said. He asked that all Board members be advised of all committee meetings, whether they are serving on that committee or not.

“Points were brought up today that are a little cloudy, a little murky,” Brookshire said.

Councilman Buddy Hines asked Littleton to address the charges of nepotism common at LCUB.

“We got a phone call this morning about that very issue,” Littleton said.

According to Littleton, LCUB’s labor lawyer was contacted after that call.

“My understanding is that his opinion is [being married to an LCUB employee] is not the kind of supervision the policy is intended to cover.

“This type of indirect supervision is limited in nature and is not close enough to be a violation of the policy,” Littleton said.

In the end, Williams was unanimously selected as assistant general manager.

In August, Williams came under fire for a $17,000 salary raise that brought her salary up to $98,696.

According to Littleton in an interview at the time, Williams did not receive a raise, but her salary was changed to reflect the amount of money the last employee in her position, a male, had been making.

In September, former LCUB GM Fred Nelson announced his retirement, to be effective in January 2010. Instead, Nelson was ousted amid charges of nepotism at a special called meeting in mid-October.

Although replaced, Nelson will receive his full pay and benefits until his retirement date, Jan. 22, 2010.


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