We agree with leaders of the Johnson City Power Board who have asked the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen to hold off on naming the public utility’s former president and CEO as the town’s representative to the Power Board’s governing body.
Last week, the JCPB board of directors voted unanimously to request the town either reconsider or postpone its appointment of Alderman Homer G’Fellers for 90 days while a special counsel investigates legal matters that might complicate that appointment.
There are simply a number of potentially disturbing questions related to G’Fellers’ appointment to the board. That’s why we agree with Erick Herrin, the attorney hired by JCPB to look into the matter, that it would not be fair to G’Fellers, the town of Jonesborough or the Power Board to proceed until it is determined how the appointment will impact three crucial issues:
The Power Board’s ongoing efforts to hire G’Fellers’ successor.
A review of a contract G’Fellers entered into with a cleaning service that may have exceeded his authority.
An extensive audit of the utility that could result in tighter financial controls.
We also agree with Johnson City Vice Mayor Phil Carriger, a member of the JCPB board of directors, who believes G’Fellers has the right to defend himself against any charges, but it shouldn’t be as a board member of the utility.
The hiring of Herrin to sort these things out demonstrates members of the Power Board do not wish to rush to any judgements. We think the town should do the same and not rush to place G’Fellers on the Power Board. There are other members of the Jonesborough board who are quite qualified to represent the town on the Power Board.
At the very least, holding off on G’Fellers’ appointment for 90 days is a reasonable request.