Editorial:TBPA awash in allegations & miscommunications
The Thomas Bay Power Authority has become an outright embarrassment for the founding communities of Wrangell and Petersburg. From name-calling on the streets of Wrangell in September of last year, to this week's closure of the office after Manager Mick Nicholls and Administrative Clerk Rhonda Christian were placed on paid leave and asked to leave the office.
Interestingly, both incidents were related to disagreements between the TBPA office employee duties and their right to be involved with decision making by the commissioners.
When SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson requested documents from Nicholls recently, he was told he would have to get a court order to get the documents. On what basis did Nicholls have the authority to assert such a demand, after both Wrangell and Petersburg assemblies had approved the process of SEAPA absorbing the TBPA operations?
How could there be such confusion about Nicholls and/or Christian being present at TBPA meetings? Why was it that a budget that was prepared in February never made it to the meeting agenda so commissioners could take action? (If President James Stough refused to put the item on the agenda, why wasn’t he overruled by other commissioners?)
This is no way to run a multimillion-dollar operation. A thorough investigation needs to happen and the persons making charges and counter-charges need to have their claims validated or refuted quickly.
Nicholls and Christian, by virtue of their administrative positions with TBPA, should be expected to carry out the policies and orders of the commission, but that clearly isn’t the case. There appears to be a widening rift between the two entities and nearly non-existent communication exchanges, except those expressed in a story in this week’s paper.
We’re assured the lights will stay on in both communities until the July 9 meeting of the commissioners and we hope some of that light will illuminate reasons for the growing divide between TBPA and its administrative staff.