Electric Utility Board Chairman Gail Kring is a fine man and we infer from his position of leadership of a large agriculture cooperative that he’s competant at his chosen profession.
But, bless his heart, he’s out of his league in his position as Chairman of the EUB. If he doesn’t have the good grace to resign his position the City Council ought not reappoint him to LP&L’s Electric Utility Board.
“Bless his heart” is the West Texas rubric required to speak truthfully but negatively about someone.
Well intentioned but politically inept is Kring. His is the most politically charged position in town. Lubbock cannot afford to have a person leading LP&L who can’t handle both the business and the politics of the appointment. It is irresponsible to let this continue.
Now, before all of the fans of Chairman Kring assail us for picking on such a nice guy we refer them back to the first two sentences of this article. We’ve stipulated to his essential value to someone and we said, “bless his heart.”
“Bless his heart” is the West Texas rubric required to speak truthfully but negatively about someone. For the record, in the past we’ve given Kring a pass for his injudicious statements. Why? Because he’s a nice guy.
But, bless his heart, Kring isn’t up to the job and here’s why.
Chairman Kring asked the new General Counsel for the EUB to opine on who ought to be in the Closed Sessions of the LP&L Board and then emailed the memo to every Board member. “For discussion purposes only,” said Kring.
Kring didn’t throw Kimbrough under the bus; he jumped on the bus, put it in reverse and backed over the new General Counsel himself.
It appears that there may be other issues more pressing for the General Counsel but, for the moment, let’s assume this is the top priority.
Kring should have come equipped with a warning klaxon because once asked to account for what he did, he backed right over his General Counsel trying to run away from the consequences of his request. Mind you, Kring didn’t throw Kimbrough under the bus; he jumped on the bus, put it in reverse and backed over the new General Counsel himself.
EUB member Clayton Isom described it correctly, Kring offered up the General Counsel as a political sacrifice. It was a weak, wrong and witless move on the part of Kring, who is supposed to be leading Lubbock’s citizen owned electric utility into the largest capital investment our city has ever made to ensure power from 2019 forward.
Absence of leadership is what plagues the EUB and Gail Kring made it easy for us to identify him as one source of the problem.
“A passive attendee in a Closed Session, by definition, cannot be necessary to the Board’s consideration of any agenda item.” –Todd Kimrbrough, General Counsel for LP&L
We’ve read and reread Todd Kimbrough’s memorandum. It appears sound in its premise and well-argued. “A passive attendee in a Closed Session, by definition,” writes Kimbrough, “cannot be necessary to the Board’s consideration of any agenda item.” That sentence speaks volumes regarding city employee and Council attendance.
Ousting city of Lubbock employees will, to begin with, eliminate some of the questionable transfers made to the Council budget out of the LP&L bank account.
For example, it is difficult to understand what contribution the City Secretary makes at an EUB meeting, much less her ever present Assistant City Secretary. He is usually skulking somewhere behind her skirts. Neither are necessary to 2019 and the $106,000 annually, that ratepayers are exhorted into paying because the inseparable duo happens to attend EUB meetings, can be used to lower electric rates.
We agree with EUB member Marc McDougal when he says the City Council must be present in some meetings. But as Kimbrough writes, only when they are contributors and “this is likely to be infrequent.”
Why does city ordinance make the Mayor an ex officio member of the LP&L Board unless it was for the purpose of being the voice of the Council on the EUB?
Why does city ordinance make the Mayor an ex officio member of the LP&L Board unless it was for the purpose of being the voice of the Council on the EUB? If the intent of the Charter was to have all seven members present at every meeting wouldn’t it have been written that way?
We have no issue with Kimbrough’s opinion. That’s for others to debate. What we do take issue with is Kring’s retreat from what he asked the General Counsel to do.
After the memorandum was written Kring said, “I told him we have to figure out how they can be included.” Who is the attorney here, Kring or Kimbrough? Expect to see treadmarks on Kimbrough when you see him next.
As The Whirlwind put it, the genie is out of the bottle and Kring ought to have stood up for his General Counsel and his interpretation of the law. From this point forward City Council needs “a specific and narrowly tailored invitation and request from the Board” to attend EUB Closed Sessions.
From this point forward City Council needs “a specific and narrowly tailored invitation and request from the Board” to attend EUB Closed Sessions.
If Kring doesn’t have the backbone to enforce this and to support his General Counsel then let the EUB elect a leader who will follow the law and be accountable for his actions or else fire the General Counsel and buy a new legal opinion.
Bless his heart, we suspect he’s not up to the task.