MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – There was more debate Tuesday about who will lead the nation’s largest public utility.
Some Memphis City Council members are at odds with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland over whether to conduct a statewide search for the next CEO of Memphis Light Gas and Water.
A decision to conduct a national search for the next leader, which was made at last week’s committee meeting, failed on Tuesday.
Some members wanted a search, while others agreed with Mayor Strickland and said there was already there’s a man ready for work in Memphis – City of Memphis COO Doug McGowan.
On October 5, Strickland announced his selection and appointed McGowen as the next director of MLGW.
It was Council President Martavious Jones who put the search resolution on the ballot.
Strickland said that even if the resolution passes, he will not engage in a national search for the MLGW position.
“I’m not going to spend time and money on a national search,” Strickland said. “We have the right person for the job and that’s Doug McGowan.”
Councilman JB Smiley approved McGowan’s appointment to the position, but only as temporary while the search is being conducted.
“When we’re talking about a Memphis utility, it’s my belief that when we’re in a position that has that much financial impact on the entire state, we probably need someone with that type of experience,” he said.
During the hearing, Councilman Chase Carlisle and several other council members welcomed McGowan’s service to the city and look forward to making the service more efficient.
“We noticed it after last winter’s shutdown,” Carlisle said. “We have an important decision to make about what to do with our power supply partner, and of course, most importantly, we have a $1 billion five-year infrastructure improvement plan, and Doug is someone who I think has demonstrated his ability to deliver on those plans. »
Councilman Smiley wouldn’t say who, but claimed that people in leadership at MLGW were interested in the job, along with others who he said “may have worked on the city council.”
“With a position like that, it pays almost $300,000,” Smiley said. “I think it’s safe to assume that there are people all over this country who are interested in moving MLGW into the future.”
Both Smiley and Carlisle are looking forward to possibly hearing from McGowan why he thinks he’s the man for the job at the Nov. 1 council meeting.
City does have a history of appointing individuals who have served at the city level to the first position in the MLGW.
Herman Morris, Joseph Lee and Jerry Collins are all former presidents and CEOs who worked for the City of Memphis before MLGW.
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