Friday, May 20, 2011

Dan Sullian Seeks GRDA's Top Post

Dan Sullivan
By Randy Krehbeil/Tulsa World ~ Tulsa Republican lawmaker Dan Sullivan confirmed Thursday that he is pursuing the top job at the Grand River Dam Authority.

The House majority floor leader, Sullivan said he has steered clear of all legislation dealing with the GRDA this session. He has been in the Legislature since 2005.

Earlier this week, a Senate conference committee reported out a bill intended to give the governor and legislative leaders authority to remove and replace five of the GRDA's seven directors. Those five are now appointed by the governor and the two legislative leaders but serve rotating terms and normally cannot be removed without cause.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, signed off on the bill, but House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, said he did not intend to allow it to be heard. Rumors continued to swirl through the Capitol on Thursday that the measure may yet get a vote, even as legislators worked toward a self-imposed Friday deadline for adjournment.
Steele said again Thursday that the measure is dead.

"SB 335 will not be heard in the House this session," he said. "The GRDA audit needs to be completed before any changes to the authority's board are considered. We do not want to do anything that may disrupt the audit in any way."

The GRDA leader has, historically, had a political background. Current CEO Kevin Easley is a former lawmaker. Easley submitted his resignation in April and will leave the position in July.

Sullivan, 48 and a lawyer, conceded that he has no background in energy but said he would provide leadership while surrounding himself with people possessing the appropriate expertise.

The latest controversy for the nonappropriated state-owned utility involves an arrangement by which the GRDA board circumvented a statutory cap on the CEO's salary by giving Easley two job titles. Directors say they will not be able to hire a replacement without combining the two salaries.

Tentative legislative steps taken last week to remove the $137,000 CEO salary cap were firmly rebuffed.

GRDA officials said about 50 people have applied for the position.

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