published Friday, May 27th, 2011

Cleveland Utilities selects chairman

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Aubrey Ector, a Cleveland pastor and software analyst for Olin Corp., was elected chairman of the Cleveland Utilities Board of Directors on Thursday.

Chari Buckner, president of the executive committee of the Bradley/Cleveland Public Education Foundation, began her term as a utility board member the same day.

The changes came after Dale Hughes resigned two weeks ago as a board member and chairman in order to fill a vacancy on the Cleveland City Council.

Ector complimented the line crews from Cleveland and outside the city who came to restore electric power after the April 27 storms.

“Those long hours are appreciated and [are] a testament to the community and the others who came to help,” Ector said.

A worker who fell from a truck while working in the storms was allowed by his doctor to return to work this week, said Jimmy Isom, reporting to the board for the Electric Division.

Buckner, referring to her previous work with Cleveland Utilities as a former Tennessee Valley Authority district manager, said service was restored to local customers quicker because of past design and engineering work.

“Not all systems are designed that well,” she said, “and I think our customers got on a lot quicker because of the work that you guys have done over the years.”

General Manager Tom Wheeler told the board that a compensation study, contracted to Winston Tan of InTandem Consultants, is about 60 percent complete and should be finished in early September.

Wheeler said that “for three years now our employees have received a total of 1 percent [of a] cost-of-living adjustment. While we certainly understand the need to hold all expenses down during the economic period we are dealing with, there are unintended consequences.”

The benchmark wage at Cleveland Utilities is that of journeyman lineman, Wheeler said. The goal has been to pay all skilled workers the prevailing wage level in the area for decades, he said.

But now, he said, the utility’s wage level seems to be slipping slightly below the area’s prevailing wage. Wheeler said the study will provide a clear picture of how Cleveland Utility salaries compare to others in the region.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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