Doyle Tubandt Recognized for 13 Years of Board Service

Doyle TubandtAt Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Water, Electric and Communications Trustees, Trustee Doyle Tubandt was recognized for his contributions to Muscatine Power and Water. Mr. Tubandt joined the Board in October 2005; his operations, engineering, and management Tubandt reflected on his time serving on the Board, “It’s different here. As Trustees, your goals are to do what’s best for the community. We make some decisions here that are different than what you’d do in your own business. That’s been good for my own leadership development and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time serving in this capacity.”

As indicated in departmental reports, approximately 25% of MP&W’s video, internet, and/or phone customers have been converted from the legacy HFC system to the upgraded and enhanced all-fiber system as part of its Fiber to the Home Project (FTTH). Customers continue to be scheduled for installation as addresses are released from contractor AEG (Atlantic Engineering Group). Installations are going well, and customer service and technicians are working through customer education issues with our new tv guide interface, enhanced guide features, and remote control functions. Most internet customers are taking higher speeds than they currently have, and which are only available with the fiber service. The launch of MP&W’s new phone service has been hampered by project delays as the service is only available to fiber customers.

MP&W customers are anxious to get the new fiber service. MP&W staff are also customers and anxious themselves to get the new fiber service installed in their own homes. Unfortunately, the project timeline for completing the project this month will not be met. Staff have put a lot of time and effort the last 4 months to try and work things out with AEG to get the project back on track and even establish a new timetable, but the necessary contract amendment has not been reached.

The Board and Staff later went into closed session to discuss potential litigation related to the FTTH project. No action was taken when the meeting resumed. Prior to adjourning for the evening, LoBianco cautioned, “As much as we want this project done, we have to balance our desire to move along quickly with protecting the financial interest of our customer/owners.  Throwing more money at the problem may speed things up a bit, but we also have a duty to hold the contractor to their commitment under the contract to ensure that dollars are being spent on this project the way they were intended.” If more time is allowed to finish the project, MP&W needs reliable and enforceable assurances that the work will be timely and the cost reasonable.  The Board supported the staff in continuing to pursue all of MP&W’s available legal remedies to address the situation.

In other news, the Board:

  • Accepted a change order and final acceptance for the 69kV Duct Bank Construction and Conduit Installation Project for work on Linn Street. This project is related to the multiyear City of Muscatine Corridor Revitalization Projects, this one related to Mississippi Dr. The change order reduced the amount of the contract by $1,327 for a final contract price of $143,411.50. The work was completed by Triple B Construction of Wilton.
  • The 2019 Utility Critical Issues were approved by the Board. Critical Issues are specific initiatives utility staff work on throughout the year; they are reviewed and modified each year based on current conditions. 2019 initiatives relate to the FTTH project, continuous improvement (lean); power supply and transmission; information technology, and cyber security. Staff will report to the Board on these initiatives quarterly.
  • Approved a resolution recognizing Doyle Tubandt for his service on the MP&W Board of Trustees. Mr. Tubandt served on the Board October 1, 2005 through December 1, 2018.
  • Appointed new Trustee Kevin Fields to the Board Committee assignments and to the MAGIC Board. Mr. Fields was approved effective December 1 and will complete Trustee Tubandt’s unfinished term.