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By CINDY SIMPSON
The table where the Harriman Utility Board members sit was largely unoccupied at what should have been the regularly scheduled June board meeting.
Three of the board’s five members — chairman Walter Jordan, Randy Milburn and Homer Harmon — had given utility manager Chuck Flora a letter announcing their decision to resign.
The resigned board members said in the letter that they realized the city wants to go in a different direction.
They wrote that they had always tried to vote in a way that benefited the rate payers and the utility.
Flora said the decision was likely based “on what they’ve been reading in the paper the last week.”
In recent weeks, Councilman Mark Powers, the council representative on the utility board, has stated an interest in dissolving the Harriman Utility Board and having the Harriman City Council act in its place.
Powers said he had received several calls expressing positive feedback after he made that opinion known at a recent council workshop.
“I’ve got a lot of calls from people in the city in support of what I said,” Powers said. “They just didn’t feel like the utility board was accountable to the citizens.”
Powers is now the only member left on the board.
Perry Kelly, the fifth member, was at the meeting, but his term expired June 30.
Without a quorum, the utility could not hold its meeting.
On the agenda was a possible vote on a budget for the utility.
Flora said Harriman Mayor Chris Mason was hoping to appoint some members as soon as possible — perhaps acting at this week’s council meeting to fill the seats.
Flora said a meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible to elect officers and begin discussion of the budgets with the new board members.
Improving public image for the utility was discussed. Flora said that Mason had expressed a desire to work on public relations for the city and encouraged the utility to do the same.