GRDA CEO Dan Sullivan gets to keep job for another year
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 15, 2012
11/15/12 at 8:34 AM
VINITA - The Grand River Dam Authority board effectively renewed CEO Dan Sullivan's contract for another year Wednesday.
By not formally acting during its November business meeting, the board triggered an automatic rollover provision in Sullivan's $225,000-a-year employment agreement.
Chairman Greg Grodhaus said the board is pleased with Sullivan's leadership and the direction of the state-owned utility during the former Tulsa legislator's year in charge.
Steve Spears, the board's longest-serving member, said he appreciated Sullivan's openness with GRDA employees and customers, and his commitment to resolving federal regulatory issues.
Sullivan and the GRDA board face the immediate challenge of dealing with stricter federal emissions control standards for the two coal-fired generators near Chouteau that account for roughly 65 percent of GRDA's generation. Bringing the 30-year-old power plants into compliance will cost an estimated $500 million.
Sullivan said President Barack Obama's re-election makes it increasingly likely that the coal plants will eventually be scrapped in favor of natural gas.
About 40 percent of the GRDA's nearly 500 employees work at the Chouteau installation.
"The war on coal is in full force," said Sullivan, using a term increasingly applied to the Obama administration's policies regarding coal emissions. "The Obama administration continues to promulgate rules that make it more difficult to update coal plants.
"It's really a matter of when we will need to build natural gas generation, not if."
Natural gas plants are more expensive to build but are cheaper and cleaner to operate.
"We have to decide how to reliably and efficiently provide power to our customers," Sullivan said.
Sullivan's first year at the helm of the GRDA included two audits - one by the state, another by private consulting firm KPMG - and a controversial decision to move some engineering and information technology functions to Tulsa.
His job performance was apparently among the matters discussed during a two-hour executive session attended by state Energy Secretary Mike Ming. It was not clear why Ming was involved in the executive session or even present, because Cabinet-level officials rarely attend GRDA meetings.
Ming said only that he was there as part of his duties as energy secretary.
Wednesday's meeting was the first for new board member Tom Kimball of Owasso.
Original Print Headline: GRDA CEO gets to keep job for another year
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
GRDA CEO Dan Sullivan: "It's really a matter of when we will need to build natural gas generation, not if."