By Steve Wehrly, Journal reporter
Citing “very different perspectives on matters of governance, and management resources,” George Mulligan, a member of the OPALCO board of directors since 2008, has resigned.
In his letter of resignation, Mulligan wrote, “To me, these differences are serious: they foretell real limitations in OPALCO’s ability to meet near term challenges and opportunities.”
Questioned about those challenges and opportunities, Mulligan said they related to “collaboration by the board with management” on matters of policy, organizational staffing and effectiveness and human resources issues.
Mulligan, a former commercial real estate developer with an MBA from Harvard, was known on the board for financial acumen and insight, a fact recognized by board President Chris Thomerson, who said in an OPALCO press release regarding Mulligan’s resignation, dated May 17, “George’s ability to assimilate, refine and revealingly summarize complex financial issues provided the board with a valuable perspective.”
Mulligan and Thomerson separately acknowledged that OPALCO’s “bold proposals” approved by the board in late 2012 for financing and implementing a countywide high-speed broadband system has recently moved toward finding “alternative” ways to design, finance, and manage the build out and operation of a system in the complex and highly-competitive telecommunications and internet service markets.
Although no final decision has been made, the board previously backed the broadband initiative as a means to enhance its electricity delivery through “Smart Grid” technology, better conserve energy use, and boost communication capability of emergency service.
Thomerson said the board has received and listened to advice and counsel from internal and external sources and is now engaged in exploring alternatives with potential partners who could not be identified under confidentiality understandings with potential collaborators.
Mulligan said he is confident that potential alternatives “will be addressed appropriately” by OPALCO.
Under Opalco operating bylaws, Mulligan’s replacement will elected by the board and will be an OPALCO “energy member” who lives in the same district (San Juan Island and nearby islands) as the director whose office is vacated. The new director will serve the remainder of the unexpired term, which will end in 2014.