Following a unanimous vote Thursday by the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities to create an assistant general manager position to shore up the public utility’s chain of command following a recent internal restructuring, Webb was named to the post.
A 25-year CU veteran, Webb will retain his duties as chief financial officer and add to those the responsibilities of serving as assistant to CU General Manager Tom Wheeler, a long-term 41-year utility worker who told board members the purpose for establishing the new role is to assure a clear and publicly understood chain-of-command authority during periods he is away from the office.
“As much as I would probably like to, I don’t think I’m going to work forever,” Wheeler told the five-member utility board.
As he has in the past as CFO, Webb will continue to report to Wheeler as will Bart Borden, manager of the CU Electric Division, and Craig Mullinax, manager of the CU Water Division. Recently, Borden was promoted to the Electric Division leadership post following the retirement of longtime utility man Dennis Daniel.
The board motion to establish the assistant general manager position was made by Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland who represents the City Council on the group. The motion was seconded by Eddie Cartwright. Others supporting the position were members Chari Buckner and Joe Cate, as well as board chairman Aubrey Ector.
Prior to the vote, Wheeler explained his intent was to recommend Webb to the position if board members approved the dual CFO and assistant general manager position.
The action came during a monthly board meeting in which Webb played a key role. The CFO not only presented his monthly financial report, but also a detailed review of budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2013. For the past several years, Webb’s budget recommendations have not only included forecasts for the coming year, but also projections into the next nine years.
Webb provides 10-year budget forecasts in order to keep utility leaders, and the Cleveland City Council, updated on expected spending needs and utility income. The practice is considered especially important now because of the rapid growth in Cleveland and Bradley County over the past few years with much more expected to come in the short- and long-term future.
During his reports Thursday, Webb explained the multiple-year look ahead fulfills four objectives — planning and anticipating future capital projects, planning and funding for future capital projects, managing current and future utility rates to customers and managing the utility’s debt level.
Virtually all construction growth within the CU service area impacts the local utility, especially if it is occurring in areas not currently serviced by CU electricity, water or sewer. Providing utility services to new-growth areas often requires intense planning, design and labor by CU crews — and contractors — in the Electric, Water and Wastewater divisions.