Smokey Barn News September 3, 2013 Springfield, Tenn.
Springfield Director of Gas Utilities Acquiesces To Termination
George Hall has decided not to appeal the decision by Springfield City Manager, Paul Nutting, that effectively removes him from the position of Director of Gas Utilities for what Nutting says was “a system extension project and (in some degree) the Springfield High school athletic facility and use of our city resources to help construct those facilities.” and “some bad decisions made that did erode confidence.”
Originally Hall decided to appeal with a hearing set for Monday at the latest. Now with Hall’s decision not to appeal that paves the way for Greg Riddle who is currently the Gas Distribution Supervisor to step into the role. Riddle has known for some time that he would be Hall’s successor, so that part is no surprise but the timing probably caught him of guard, Riddle’s being seated into the position of Director of Gas Utilities this afternoon.
Nutting reiterated his feelings of appreciation for Hall’s years of service, saying that Hall did a good job as the Director of Gas Utilities, he took over the department at a very difficult time. He put together a fine staff, he was founder/co-founder (In my opinion Nutting said) of the Tennessee Energy acquisition Corporation. The cities of Springfield and Clarksville formed the Tennessee Energy Acquisition Corporation in 1996. One of the primary purposes for which the corporation was formed was to enter into a gas supply agreement with the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia for the purchase of natural gas at below market prices, on a long-term basis, so that the Tennessee Energy Acquisition Corporation could in turn enter into agreements with its associated municipalities to supply the gas to the municipalities at below market prices.
TEAC also provides transportation and storage capacity services as well as load management services for its associated municipalities to secure the delivery of the gas supplies to their city gate stations. A total of nineteen (19) gas systems are currently members of TEAC. Robert Durham, General Manager of the Greater Dickson Gas Authority is the current Chairman of the TEAC Board of Directors. George Hall, Director of Gas Utilities for the City of Springfield served as Chairman from 1999 to 2007 and currently serves on the Board of Directors. Source Springfield Gas
Greg Riddle has been with the department for 22 years and brings with him a welth of knowlage and experaence.
REPORTED EARLIER TODAY:…………
Springfield Director of Gas Utilities Placed on Unpaid Leave Pending Investigation
Though George Hall is appealing the decision, for the moment he has been placed on unpaid leave from his position of Director of Gas Utilities for the city of Springfield, according to Paul Nutting Springfield City Manager. Hall was informed of the decision Tuesday around 1:00PM, sources tell Smokey. Nutting went on to say that “It has to do with a system extension project and (in some degree) the Springfield High school athletic facility and use of our city resources to help construct those facilities.”
Nutting called it “Decisions that corroded confidence in his leadership. I think that’s a fair statement and I think that sums it up. Whenever we take a disciplinary action against someone whether it’s a termination or a suspension for any period, that individual is allowed to have a separate review hearing and George has requested a review hearing and we are going to try and have one on Friday. Nothing is final until that takes place.”, Nutting said.
Hall is temporarily suspended without pay until the hearing process is carried through. This process (which was started by a previous city manager) allows both parties (the terminating party) and (the person appealing the decision) to make their presentations to a neutral department head (a disciplinary review committee).
Three levels of management are utilized; A head manager (not involved) of a department, a middle manager from another dept. and an employee from another department take a look at everything independently and make a recommendation that comes back to the city manager (Paul Nutting) which will concur or modify that decision, Nutting said.
I asked Nutting what is the likelihood of Hall keeping his job after the committee review, Nutting’s response was “The actions were more than justified but we have a process and in the end I will make the final determination of what the result is going to be.”
“Assistant City Manager, Regina Holt and other people from the department will make a presentation as to why he should be terminated. Then he will make a counter presentation. Then they will leave the room and the committee will decide if the termination should stand or be overturned or whether a lesser punishment is in order. In any case the city manager makes the final decision” Nutting said.
If there is something brought up or new information is presented, or if there are other circumstances that Nutting is unaware of at the present time, conceivably that could change his decision, according to Nutting.
I asked Nutting again if new information or a strong plea from the committee could change his mind and he said, “Yes, theoretically I could change my mind but with the information I have now, I’m pretty solid, but everybody has a right to an appeal. Right now I think it was a pretty solid decision and I feel good about it” Nutting said.”
Nutting went on to say that “George has done many good things with the gas department and has been a capable manager. He has worked for the gas department for at least 14 years in leadership, he’s has done a lot of good work.
A final decision on Hall’s fate could be made on Friday but probably no later than Monday.
Smokey spoke to George Hall at his home Tuesday evening. He seemed to be taking it all in stride, “I made some decisions that I thought I had the authority to make” Hall said. George Hall is currently the Director of Gas Utilities for the City of Springfield and has served as Chairman from 1999 to 2007 and currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Smokey will let you know if the committee review changes the outcome of Nutting’s decision.
Jim Ball reporting
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