Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 13, 2012

TPWA general manager takes job in Kansas

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah Public Works Authority General Manager Mark Chesney notified board members Tuesday he’ll be resigning his position, effective Oct. 31.

Chesney has accepted a job as chief executive officer/general manager with Kansas Power Pool, an electric utility provider in Wichita that serves about 30 cities.

In his letter of resignation, Chesney noted his appreciation for the confidence  board members showed him when he took the TPWA reins in June 2010.

“The past two years and four months, seen in retrospect, give me a feeling of enormous satisfaction. I treasure the opportunity the board gave me to be part of numerous important activities,” he said. “I believe that during that time period, TPWA has commenced or implemented new developments that are not only important; they are historic. I am happy to have played my part.”

During his tenure, Chesney has overseen the opening of the William H. Hinds Water Treatment Facility. TPWA received the Municipal Electric Systems of Oklahoma Electric Operation and Reliability Award, and a recent service satisfaction survey conducted by SDS Research revealed the majority of customers are pleased with their experience with TPWA. Chesney has also been instrumental in establishing a feasibility study to bring broadband services to  customers.

According to a recent press release, the city of Tahlequah has partnered with SDS Research and The Motive Group to determine the viability of offering the most advanced and future proof video, high-speed Internet and telephone services to customers over a fiberoptic network.

SDS Research will be contacting customers this week to get feedback on their willingness to purchase these services from TPWA.

Customer opinion is important to the utility company and Chesney, he said.

“We always want to be good stewards of our resources,” he said. “If our customers want a new option for these services, and it is financially feasible, then we will continue this study.”

Board trustee Isabel Baker said Chesney took the TPWA helm during a “very difficult time,” and she hopes he meets “nothing but success” down the road.

“He’s done a gentleman’s job,” she said. “I don’t think anyone could have done better. I have an awful lot of respect for Mr. Chesney. I appreciate his service so much. On the other hand, I understand. When you get a chance to get a promotion, you go. That’s how it works.”

The board made the motion during a May 2010 meeting to hire Chesney, less than a week after TPWA’s first choice, Ada public works director and city engineer Robert Holcomb, declined the job.

Chesney arrived in Tahlequah from a seven-year post as operations manager with the Utah Municipal Power Agency. Before going to Utah, he was general manager for the Grand River Dam Authority.

Chesney said with this background and experience, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to move up the chain of command, while staying close to his passion.

“I’ve got a lot of background on that side of the industry and a lot of affection for it, frankly,” he said. “I’m really proud of what I had the opportunity to be a part of [at TPWA]. I’m tickled and thrilled to be associated with it. As far as Tahlequah, I’m going to miss it.”

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Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
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