Thomas Bay Power Authority Commission terminates general manager


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Michael Nicholls

The Thomas Bay Power Authority (TBPA) Commission terminated TBPA General Manager Michael Nicholls' contract with three months of severance pay after months of lack of communication from him to the commission.

TBPA, the organization responsible for operation and maintenance of the Tyee Hydroelectric Plant that provides power to Petersburg and Wrangell, is undergoing negotiations to transfer its operations to Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA).

Commission members hadn't been receiving financial information or other documentation that would facilitate the transfer of the operations and maintenance contract from TBPA to SEAPA.

In an attempt to move the transfer forward, SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson requested necessary documents from the TBPA office last month to no avail.

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"Essentially I've had no support from the Thomas Bay Power Authority office for that," Acteson said during a commission meeting in late June. "I've requested them (documents) in writing. It is included in the O&M (operations and maintenance) contract that we're supposed to have access to those documents. I stopped by the office personally earlier this week and was told by the manager (Nicholls) that I'd have to have a court order to get those documents."

The commission voted to place Nicholls and TBPA office administrator Rhonda Christian on administrative leave on June 27.

That same day, Nicholls laid off Christian. She is now receiving severance pay.

TBPA Commissioner Joe Nelson said foreman Steve Beers is managing the day-to-day office work.

"He's being supported by the commission, SEAPA and Wrangell Borough Manager Jeff Jabusch," Nelson said.


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