Council to consider eligibility of EUB member

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Dwight McDonald

The Lubbock City Council Agenda for September 26 contains the following item: concerning Electric Utility Board membership eligibility, Dwight McDonald. The item was placed on the agenda by the city’s legal department.

There is no background information for this agenda item but we can probably fill it in. Dwight McDonald, a practicing attorney in Lubbock, is also a part-time city magistrate. The Electric Utility Board, or EUB, is the governing body for Lubbock Power and Light.

The Lubbock City Charter contains the following prohibition:

The Mayor, Councilmen, and other officers and employees shall not be indebted to the City; shall not hold any public office of emolument and shall not be interested in the profits or emoluments of any contract, job, work or service for the municipality or interested in the sale to the City of any supplies, equipment, material or articles purchased; nor shall any member of the City Council or the Electric Utility Board have a substantial interest in any public utility operating within the City of Lubbock, nor be in the employ of any person having  a substantial interest in any public utility operating within the City of Lubbock.

Ironically, this clause comes from the same section and paragraph of the charter that says “No officer or employee of the city shall accept…any free ticket” (Ch. 1, Art. IX, Sec. 4).

We find it interesting that a Council that cannot make a plain language application of the Charter to itself, i.e., don’t take freebies not available to everyone else, would consider making the stretch necessary to apply a portion of the Charter to an employee that appears to be written to prevent Councilmen, officers and employees from holding other public office or having an interest in third party contracts for jobs with the city.

Dwight McDonald is, by all accounts, a standout member of the EUB. It is hard to imagine that a backwards looking Council which cannot manage four votes for smart meters is going to appoint a better member than McDonald to the LP&L board.

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Carroll McDonald

This move is all the more puzzling when one considers the fact that another EUB member, Carroll McDonald (no relation to Dwight McDonald) is a paid consultant for the West Texas Municipal Power Agency (WTMPA). That relationship is well known and is apparently sanctioned by the Council. WTMPA is a municipal corporation comprised of the cities of Lubbock, Brownfield, Tulia and Floydada.

Not exactly the same, but close enough to raise eyebrows.

The Council is now faced with a conundrum. It can pick and choose which EUB members to suddenly become captious with, ousting Dwight McDonald but keeping Carroll McDonald. Or Council may opt to ignore the City Charter as it applies to itself but adopt a stricter stance where all EUB members are involved.

Or it may punt, allowing the agenda item to lie without a motion and second and therefore no discussion, choosing to reject the advice of its own city attorney.

Whatever the City Council does, it has already set a poor precedent by playing fast and loose with the City Charter as it applies to its own actions. If it gets legalistic solely with Dwight McDonald, it will have raised official hubris and hypocrisy to new heights.

Let’s not underestimate this City Council’s ability to do just that.


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