Ken Webb to take helm of Cleveland Utilities

Ken Webb to take helm of Cleveland Utilities

July 9th, 2013 by Paul Leach in Local Regional News

From left, Tom Wheeler, president and CEO of Cleveland Utilities, and Aubrey Ector, chairman of the utility board, congratulate Ken Webb, who will replace Wheeler.

Photo by Paul Leach /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Ken Webb has been selected to assume the role of president and CEO of Cleveland Utilities following the retirement of Tom Wheeler this fall.

On Monday, the Cleveland Utility Board voted 5-0 in favor of Webb, the utility's current senior vice president and chief financial officer.

"I think you've made a great decision, a great choice," said Wheeler, who has served as the utility's leader for 24 years.

Wheeler credited his employees for his success and observed that in 42 years of service, Cleveland Utilities always seemed to get stronger as it went through personnel transitions.

"With the appointment you've made, I don't think we'll see any change in that," Wheeler said. "As far as Cleveland Utilities is concerned ... we'll just continue to get better. I have an interest in seeing that myself."

Webb joined Cleveland Utilities as a senior accountant in October 1987, taking the reins of the financial division in the following year. He serves with a number of community outreach organizations, including the board of directors for both United Way and Life Bridges Inc.

"On behalf of the employees to Tom -- we've been successful because we've had a good teacher and we're going to miss him in that role," said Webb.

Wheeler's last day at Cleveland Utilities is expected to be in early October, with his retirement to be effective Nov. 1.

Plans have been proposed to give Wheeler a retirement dinner at the Museum Center at Five Points and a lunch reception at Cleveland Utilities' Tom Wheeler Training Center in September, said board member Eddie Cartwright.

In related business, the Cleveland City Council voted 7-0 on Monday to reappoint Aubrey Ector to the utility board for a term expiring July 2017. Ector, who serves as the board chairman, was appointed to replace board member Dale Hughes in 2011. Hughes had to resign the board position in order to fill a vacancy on the Cleveland City Council.

In other business, Webb announced that Cleveland Utilities has been approved for a $10 million Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan package, which will be used to fund the utility's long-range plans to rehabilitate the city's waste water system.

The package comes in two pieces, said Webb. The first amounts to $1.826 million, with $451,000 in loan forgiveness; the second portion is for $8.174 million. Both are 20-year fix rate loans set at 1.15 percent interest.

Cleveland Utilities is currently working to replace and repair key sections of damaged and worn sewer lines in southwestern Cleveland as part of a 10-year plan to prevent waste water overflows by significantly reducing the amount of storm water infiltration into the sewer system.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at