The GEPB Bully Pit
“There is profit in division,” Tag Taylor
By Jeff Jobe
This week’s Glasgow Electric Plant Board (GEPB) meeting was one of the most rude and unprofessional government meetings I have ever witnessed, second only to perhaps one of their previous meetings under this current leadership.
Superintendent Billy Ray chose to throw Mayor MD Armstrong under the bus with Chairman Tag Taylor and Libby Short joining the attack.
Ray said he has received no response what-so-ever from a letter he sent the Mayor requesting help for non-paying customers through COVID-19 funding, a program in which the city could request help for its customers.
As a board member for two state-wide boards, I take pride in working with teams of professionals that would never do such a thing. We guard against blind-siding anyone, including private citizens, other industry, and even politicians.
However, the GEPB has a history of using their meetings as a bully pit to attack anyone who may not agree with their way of conducting business. They have made fun of competitors and even private citizens asking for help with electric rates.
I phoned Armstrong, and he said he spoke with Ray on the phone and informed him that the first COVID-19 package request was made for emergency workers salaries and that this funding had to be used for this specific request, but that he would make sure the next request would be done for both electric and water assistance. He said he also informed the water board of this as well.
I reached out to a friend on the water board who confirmed that the mayor spoke weeks ago about this issue in an open meeting saying exactly what he had told me. They are an example like most city departments at this time, with strong ethical leadership and even a board in place that demands nothing less of their superintendent.
Perhaps Ray didn’t recall the conversation or just maybe Armstrong thought he made the call and didn’t. It is one man’s word against the other.
Either way, a simple phone call could have saved our community from being exposed to this passive-aggressive arrogant tone so customary for our electric board.
The irony. I am comfortable with many of you knowing it is Armstrong who is fighting for those struggling with power bills, while Ray, Taylor, and Short dismiss the struggles as a few ignorant people who just can’t read their electric bill.
This most recent meeting did nothing more than lay out a political attack against Mayor Armstrong, and he isn’t even on the ballot. Ray, Taylor, and Short are hopeful that this election will get people elected who will stand with them against Armstrong to tie his hands for the next two years.
I’m not sure there is a statement in which I can agree more than one made by Taylor, in which he said, “There is profit in division.” However, he has never articulated who he actually feels is profiting from Glasgow’s division. I have made it very clear that my position is that those getting “no-bid contracts” are the winners in not having an open and transparent government.
As I wrote last week, if you support Patrick Gaunce and his efforts to keep Ray and Taylor in charge, then you will need to vote for Gaunce, Angela Briggs, Josh Fields, and Robert Oliver. I don’t think Oliver is controlled by Gaunce like Briggs and Fields surely are, but he has been upfront in his feelings for keeping Ray in control.
If you support Armstrong in honoring the majority of the board’s decision to explore other options including removing Ray, then you should vote for Wendell Honeycutt, Marlin Witcher, Marna Kirkpatrick, Terry Bunnell, Sherri Eubank, Freddie Norris, and Keith Rowlett.
I also agree with Taylor; now is the time for the community to vote and put this issue behind us once and for all.
I thought Billy Ray was fired? How is he still on this board??