Barren County Progress
Glasgow City Councilman Patrick Gaunce has rallied enough support to go into closed session in an attempt to supersede and possibly make the upcoming Judge John Alexander ruling mute.
Even though Glasgow Electric Plant Board (GEPB) members DT Froedge, Glen Prichard, and council representative board member Marlin Witcher are waiting for the local Circuit Court Judge’s ruling on whether Froedge is an active member and if a recent meeting was legal, Gaunce is pushing the views of EPB Chairman Tag Taylor and will attempt to sway enough council support to involve themselves in making sure Superintendent Billy Ray stays in charge at GEPB.
Taylor has openly challenged Mayor Harold MD Armstrong on several issues and pushed through contracts against what the Mayor felt was in the community’s best interest. The biggest disagreement came after Taylor agreed with Armstrong in seeking advise from an independent power consultant in one meeting and the very next one pushed a 20-year contract through ignoring Armstrong and the Council’s help in paying for an opinion prior to making such a commitment.
The current controversy started when Taylor essentially threw a “Hail Mary” and declared that Froedge wasn’t a member of the board. He did this after receiving a request like this one for a special called meeting from Froedge, Witcher, and Prichard.
The meeting notified the public, among other things, that he would be removed as chairman, that Ray would be placed on paid leave and pending a hearing for termination.
The meeting was called in accordance with Kentucky Open Meeting Laws and was held as detailed in the public notice. However, Taylor confused some by issuing a statement to the press stating that the meeting was canceled. He had said the meeting couldn’t be called because he and/or the secretary must notify the community, and they weren’t going to do it. He also said that Froedge isn’t an active member, and therefore couldn’t even call the meeting. Taylor made a statement that he would need an Attorney General’s opinion or a Circuit Court ruling before he would consider Froedge a member.
A few days later, they got notice from the AG that Froedge should still be an active member. At that time Taylor now said he needed a court ruling. This is what board members Froedge, Witcher, and Prichard are waiting for at this time. They have missed the past two consecutive meetings because Taylor refused to acknowledge an opinion he asked for from the AG.
Froedge, Witcher, Prichard, and the community are now waiting for a ruling from a hearing conducted by Judge John Alexander. Alexander indicated he will soon rule on whether Froedge is a member and if the meeting should stand.
Sources close to the issue say Gaunce met with Taylor and Ray, and they are pushing him to rally council for these men’s dismissal, and once again are expected to use a potential industrial partner as a reason to keep Ray.
Taylor has attempted to use an upcoming business development opportunity for our community as a means to push his cause, saying the TVA contract would be essential in attracting the industry.
Prichard, Witcher, and Froedge have made it known that any contracts issued would certainly be honored by any future power providers choosing to be in business with the GEPB. They have individually shared on record with the Progress, and Taylor knows this is their intention but ignores these discussions. Instead, he wants the community to believe Glasgow will lose industry if we do not keep Billy Ray at the helm and continue doing business with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Patrick Gaunce and Chasity Lowry lobbied other council members for signatures to have the special called meeting. Joe Trigg has also been working to protect the Electric Plant Board Superintendent Billy Ray.
Others seem less passionate about stepping into GEPB business and working against their councilman representative, Councilman Marlin Witcher.
The meeting is vague in its description. It states that it is being called for discussion or hearing that might lead to the appointment, discussion, discipline, or dismissal of an individual member. It’s not clear if they can even officially discuss more than a single person by the way they notified the public. In conversations off the record with some council members, they have stated that this is not at all something the council should be doing, but if having a meeting will stop Gaunce from continuously meddling into the EPB, then they will sign it and move through it.
The same council members believe trying to do something after asking Judge Alexander for a ruling is not at all how a community should be managed and even if the community doesn’t know why Froedge, Whitcher and Prichard aren’t attending meetings; they certainly do.
The meeting is scheduled for Friday June 26 at 10 a.m. in the Glasgow City Council Chamber via Zoom.