News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2007

Hartselle leans toward HU incumbents

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — While not making a commitment, city leaders appear to be leaning toward reappointing the incumbents to the Hartselle Utilities board.

"We like what's going on," City Council President Kenny Thompson said.

The council will vote Tuesday night on whether to reappoint Mike Gunter and Jimmy Moore. The HU board members serve six-year terms and are paid $150 per month.

"I definitely support putting Mr. Gunter back on the board," Councilman Bill Smelser said Monday night.

Councilman Samie Wiley and Thompson agreed.

"Since things are going good, we ought to put Jimmy Moore back on there," Wiley added.

His statement drew no comment from the council.

Councilman Mark Mizell was not at the meeting. Councilman Bill Drake did not comment.

The council interviewed Gunter, Moore, former Councilman Frank Jones and Will Lipsey. Mack Wilson, a neighbor of HU General Manager Ferrell Vest, withdrew his application Monday.

The relationship between the council and the HU board was a big issue with the applicants. On their applications, they talked about how important it is for the two boards to work for the citizens of Hartselle.

That relationship has changed since Vest became general manager.

Before then, it was so bad that the city administration banned former General Manager George Adair from attending city department head meetings.

Jones, who was the council representative on the HU board for three years, said the
relationship between HU and the city was not as good as it is now when he served on the board.

But he defended his service and said he's one of the reasons the relationship is better.

"I did a good job before with some obstacles," Jones said.

In lobbying for an appointment, Lipsey mentioned his experience as a utility auditor with the U.S. Army. He said he audited utility projects with budgets of more than $100 million.

"We also did management audits looking for fraud and mismanagement," Lipsey said.

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