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Opinion | A national search for a new MLGW CEO is unnecessary | Otis Sanford

ABC24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shared his point of view on the debate over the next head of MLGW.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What initially appeared to be smooth sailing for Doug McGowen to become the next CEO of Memphis Light, Gas and Water, is turning out to be anything but smooth.

Mayor Jim Strickland announced McGowen’s selection Wednesday to replace J.T. Young, who has taken another position with a Florida utility company. The aim was to get quickly get McGowen confirmed at next Tuesday’s city council meeting.

But the nomination was excluded from a council committee’s agenda released Thursday. And the reason appears to be that Councilman Martavius Jones wants a national search for the next MLGW leader. In fact, Jones is proposing a nonbinding resolution calling for a national search.

If that happens, it will slow down the process of naming a new CEO at a time when leadership is sorely needed at the city-owned utility. I’m told Strickland wants McGowen in the job to push through several initiatives that have been getting pushback from MLGW officials. McGowen also has the political experience necessary to deal with the much talked about decision whether to continue getting electricity from the Tennessee Valley Authority or switch to another provider. Plus, a delay in getting him confirmed prevents the groundbreaking appointment of Chantell Ryan as the city’s next chief operating officer from moving forward.

I believe a national search is not only time consuming, it’s unnecessary. And this is more about political gamesmanship than anything else.

RELATED: Opinion | Smart politics helped in Strickland's pick for MLGW's next chief | Richard Ransom

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