Zheng to Get $700,000 Plus Right to 'Neutral Reference' From LP&L

Published 07/06 2014 05:56PM

Updated 07/06 2014 06:18PM

Gary Zheng, Director and CEO of LP&L
Gary Zheng, Director and CEO of LP&L
LUBBOCK, TX -- The Electric Utility Board which oversees Lubbock Power & Light will likely fire embattled Director Gary Zheng Monday morning.  A special meeting of the EUB was called with Zheng’s job on the agenda. 

Zheng was placed on leave in May amid allegations that he leaked confidential information to another utility company.  Previously there had been allegations that he mishandled bids related to a major power supply contract.

“There’s a signed settlement agreement,” said EUB member Charlie Dunn.  “It will pay him his severance which is two year’s salary.”  

Dunn said, “It also pays him what he would have gotten if he had quit – vacation, sick leave.  It’s going to end up being roughly $700,000.”

Dunn said as part of the negotiation for an out-of-court settlement, Zheng can use LP&L as a “neutral reference,” and LP&L will say he is eligible for rehire.  But Dunn has a much more pointed criticism of the out-of-court settlement.

“I have an issue with the fact that there is no claw-back agreement,” Dunn said.  “So, if we end up with an indictment or other criminal charge a year down the road, we’re not going to be able to sue him to get our money back.”

Dunn said, “We’re releasing him for anything he might have done even though we’re paying for it.”

So far, the internal investigation found Zheng committed no intentional wrongdoing when he accepted information last year from someone associated with the bidding process in a major power supply contract.  But EverythingLubbock.com obtained a copy of an FBI subpoena which shows Lubbock Power & Light was ordered to hand over records concerning that very same bidding process. 

As for the settlement with Zheng, Dunn said, “I doubt there will be any change.  I might not vote for it.” 

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