Petersburg Pilot -


Lack of leadership concerns Thomas Bay Power Authority Commission


File Photo

James Stough

Former Thomas Bay Power Authority (TBPA) Commission President James Stough resigned last Thursday-the same day the TBPA Commission questioned his lack of communication and participation at commission meetings.

Stough didn't attend the most recent meeting held in Petersburg last Thursday.

"This is the second meeting he has chosen not to attend," TBPA Commissioner Joe Nelson said at last Thursday's meeting. "He has chosen not to communicate with us. We have no idea what his thoughts are."

Stough resigned via a letter to the Wrangell Assembly of which he also resigned his seat.

"It is too much burden and personal expense to me and my family to continue to serve my community and to live at Farm Island on the Stikine River," Stough wrote.

During last Thursday's meeting, Nelson suggested the commission elect new officers in order to function efficiently.

The commission voted to send Stough a letter asking him what his intentions were and moved to elect new officers at the next meeting, pending Stough's reply.

TBPA vice president Robert Larson has been organizing the latest meetings, but due to a lack of communication from TBPA general manager Michael Nicholls, there were no financial statements to review.

A contract to transfer operations and management from TBPA to Southeast Alaska Power Agency is currently being negotiated between those agencies and the Petersburg and Wrangell Assemblies.

"That is not done and we really aren't in a position to make a determination when it will be done," Larson said. "Until we hear back when that transfer will take place ,I think it's only prudent that, as a commission, we make the plans to be the operator for the rest of this fiscal year. In that case we need to pass a FY 2015 budget."

In order to pass a budget, Nicholls needs to prepare one but no one has heard from him. Commissioner John Jensen said they should be prepared for more of the same.

"We have directed him to do several things over the last several months and nothing's been completed," Jensen said. "I suggest we have a fallback position to figure out where we are financially with Thomas Bay Power Authority right now because we have absolutely no idea, since January, where we are financially."

The commission had also voted to send Nicholls a letter and to have Larson to attempt to reach him by phone.

The commission will elect new officers at its June 27 meeting in Petersburg.

Stough has been critical of the transfer of TBPA operations and management to SEAPA, since it was first proposed last fall. He wrote a letter without commission approval to the SEAPA board last April ordering an end to the negotiation.

David Galla, TPBA secretary, also resigned from the TBPA Commission on June 6.


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