Thursday, September 18, 2014 · 7:40 a.m.
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A watchdog group alleges that TVA's board of directors violated federal Sunshine Laws when appointing its new CEO. (Photo: Contributed)

A watchdog organization has filed a complaint with TVA's inspector general, claiming that the utility's leaders violated federal Sunshine Laws in the recent appointment of new CEO Bill Johnson

"We are waiting for the inspector general's decision on that," Sandy Kurtz, with the Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team, said Monday morning. "I don't know if he will decide if they did it correctly or not. If they didn't, they will need to make amends."

TVA leaders couldn't immediately be reached Monday because it is a federal holiday.

The watchdog group alleges that TVA violated laws because leaders did not publicly announce the meeting to appoint the new CEO. 

In the news release about the complaint, the nonprofit organization that brought the allegation cited TVA ombudsman Wilson Taylor, who said leaders followed proper procedures.

“The board members voted to approve the appointment of Bill Johnson through a notational process without holding a meeting," Taylor said, according to the news release from the watchdog group. "This approach maintains the confidentiality of the candidates and provides clear adherence to the governance guidelines. No further vote of the board is required."

A TVA spokesperson verified that statement Monday evening and provided additional comment. 

"The board's action in selecting Bill Johnson is complete and follows our governance and practice guidelines," according to the prepared statement. "Board members met and interviewed prospective candidates and shared their preferences through the consultant."

But leaders with the watchdog group said TVA frequently conducts business in private. 

“If the board of directors are allowed to conduct business in such a manner that promotes secrecy instead of openness, the public's faith and trust will be seriously diminished in the TVA," Garry Morgan, a member of Bellefonte Efficiency & Sustainability Team, said in a prepared statement.

Kurtz said members of her organization will be at Thursday's board of directors meeting. Click here for information about that meeting.  

Earlier this month, TVA's board of directors announced that Bill Johnson, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Inc., will take over leadership of the federal agency, effective Jan. 1. 

In August, TVA Chairman Bill Sansom said that TVA CEO Tom Kilgore, who was the utility's first CEO, would soon retire.  

Kilgore was chief operating officer when then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist helped push through legislation to change TVA’s leadership structure to more closely resemble that of a corporation in an effort to create more accountability, according to Nooga.com archives

Updated @ 4:55 p.m. on 11/12/12 to add comment from TVA.

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