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Golden gets nod despite calls for new blood
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Give someone else a chance. That was the stance some aldermen took following a recommendation by Mayor Jimmy Haley to reappoint Jeff Golden to the board of McMinnville Electric System.
“I wish to have a nomination for the board to reappoint Jeff Golden to the MES power board,” said Haley on Tuesday night.
With board approval, the mayor recommends nominations for appointment to various committees and boards, such as the board governing MES.
When Alderman Mike Neal questioned how long Golden has served on the board, Haley said he did not know. Alderman Billy Wood said approximately 40 years.
“I don’t have anything against Jeff, but he has been on the board for at least 40 years,” Wood said. “It’s a publicly owned utility. I think any of the folks in this room could serve. We just seem to be putting the same people back on.”
According to MES general manager and CEO Rodney Boyd, Golden has been on the board 32 years, Sam Martin 33 years, Jeff McKinley 14 years, and Sally Brock 11 years. Mayor Haley, who was appointed as the city board’s representative, began serving at the end of last year.
While the city’s representative serves a term of two years, all other board members serve four-year terms. Members are paid $200 for each monthly board meeting they attend. The board has one regular meeting night per month.
Haley defended his decision to recommend Golden, stating, “Some folks have a proven track record to a committee. Mr. Golden said he would like to have it one more time. The board at MES also requested that.”
The time to remove someone is when they have exhibited signs they are incompetent to do the job, says Vice Mayor Ben Newman.
“In dealing with utilities, it’s a huge learning curve,” Newman said. “A lot of times, it is good to have people who have a proven track record and make good decisions. I think it’s when someone makes poor decisions that you want to replace them with someone else.”
Neal added, “Sometimes, though, you have to have a place for newcomers to learn and we are not allowing that to happen on this board.”
When questioned by Newman about other people who have voiced interest in serving on the board, Haley said no one has.
Wood says people have asked him.
“I’ve had several people ask me,” Wood said. “I tell them to talk to the mayor. He makes the appointments and the board votes on it.”
Appreciation should be shown to those who are willing to serve, says Haley.
“I have tried to add new people to various appointments,” he said. “It’s very hard sometimes to find someone who is willing to devote the time and effort to these committee. We need to appreciate those who want to step up and serve.”
Excluding Haley, board members were not notified of a vacancy until Tuesday night when the recommendation was made. Neal says there should be public notification.
“Can there be a process by which we let the public know when these positions are open and interview other people for this? I don’t know of anyone who would have even known this position was open. I surely didn’t,” said Neal.
Haley agreed to supply the board with a list of terms and when each expires.
The nomination to reappoint Golden passed 5-2. Voting in favor were Newman, Haley and Aldermen Ken Smith, Jimmy Bonner and Rick Barnes. Wood and Neal voted against it.