Complaint Filed Says TVA Ignored Sunshine Law Requirements

Monday, November 12, 2012

Garry Morgan, a member of Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team, has filed a complaint with the TVA Inspector General’s Office noting that Tennessee Valley Authority Board’s appointment of Bill Johnson as the new CEO is invalid.  According to the complaint, TVA, a public agency, did not follow the requirements of the Federal Sunshine Act.   That act states that TVA shall make a public announcement of the time, place, and subject matter of each meeting, whether it is to be open or closed to the public, and the name and telephone number of a TVA official who can respond to requests for information about the meeting. 

Mr. Morgan writes in the complaint, “If the Board of Directors are allowed to conduct business in such a manner that promotes secrecy instead of openness, the public's faith and trust will be seriously diminished in the TVA. I am not asking for the board to disclose personal, confidential information about the candidates for the TVA CEO position, but I am asking the TVA Board of Directors to comply with the notice requirements of the Sunshine Act concerning when they meet, regardless of the manner of the meeting as required by the Sunshine Law. 

In response to an inquiry regarding the process, TVA ombudsman Wilson Taylor, responded by e-mail on Nov. 7 and states, “The board members voted to approve the appointment of Bill Johnson through a notational process, without holding a meeting. This approach maintains the confidentiality of the candidates and provides clear adherence to the governance guidelines.  No further vote of the board is required."   

“The TVA may call it whatever they want, it does not reduce their responsibility to follow the law,” asserts Mr. Morgan, BEST member. He adds, “The TVA did not notify the public as to place or time of the meeting/decision as required by law; they are required to make a public announcement of the time, place, and subject matter of each meeting whether it is to be open or closed to the public, and the name and telephone number of a TVA official who can respond to requests for information about the meeting.”

BEST points out that the selection of the TVA CEO did not comply with the Criteria for Notational Approvals policy and that using that process does not remove the legal requirement for the TVA Board to comply with the Federal Sunshine Act. The criteria for using a notational process require the issue to be both time sensitive and confidential, but neither appear valid in this instance, they maintain. A Board Practices Resolution passed by the TVA Board in 2006 states “This notational approval process must be carried out in a way that is fully consistent with the Board’s responsibility to exercise careful and prudent oversight and their ability to lead TVA with integrity and open and transparent accountability.”  The final vote and announcement should have been conducted in an open and transparent way during the TVA Board meeting after public notification of the ongoing process, BEST officials said.   

The next TVA Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday in Rainsville, Ala.  The meeting is open to the public.  

BEST/MATRR is a chapter of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, a 501(C)3 non-profit organization.


Lisa Baskette Joins Pinnacle As Mortgage Advisor

Lisa Baskette has joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as a senior vice president and mortgage advisor for the firm’s Shallowford Road office. She is based at the firm’s downtown office, 801 Broad St. until the Shallowford office is complete. Ms. Baskette, with 28 years of experience, served as a vice president and mortgage loan originator for Regions Bank. Prior roles included ... (click for more)

Flywheel Brands Welcomes Newest Member To Growing Team

Flywheel Brands, Inc. welcomed Adam Duggan as the newest team member of the Hixson-based print management company. Assuming the role of business development executive, Mr. Duggan will be supporting new clients in their efforts to generate momentum behind their brands and develop marketing strategies that yield the return they're seeking. His primary focus will be with those organizations ... (click for more)

2 Juveniles Arrested For Arson In Sevier County Fires

An investigation by special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, National Park Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in charges being placed against two people in connection with the deadly wildfires in Sevier County.  Last week, at the request of 4 th  District Attorney General ... (click for more)

Shannon Whitfield Already At Work Eliminating Sole Commissioner Post In Walker County; Process To Take 4 Years

Shannon Whitfield is already at work eliminating the position he won by a landslide in the recent election. Mr. Whitfield, who takes over at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1 after a 16-year reign by Bebe Heiskell, noted, however, that it is a four-year process. He said the two House members and local senator are working with him on legislation that must first be approved. That should ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: You Can’t Sue You

The Hamilton County School Board will convene an hour earlier tomorrow to discuss “facilities” and the question of the hour is “Which ones?” Several communities are actively studying pulling away from the county’s Department of Education and the stew is thickening by the day. Now comes the revelation that school board attorney Scott Bennett has sent an email to the town of Signal ... (click for more)