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January 14, 2004
TVA says job cutbacks are coming, through either involuntary layoffs or voluntary retirements. Wednesday the TVA Board adopted a new strategic plan that calls for reducing its now $25 billion debt by $3 billion to $5 billion in the next ten years, which members say can't be done without major changes.
Board members say the new plan doesn't mean people will come to work Thursday and find a pink slip on their desks. But in the coming months, to follow the plan and cut the debt, jobs will be eliminated.
"This is not just a plan," says TVA Director Skila Harris. "I think we are changing the way we think about doing business." The plan has a greater purpose than just reducing debt. It's the plan that's getting TVA ready for competition in the power industry. "It's taking us from a monopoly to a competitive business," Harris says.
TVA Managers are reviewing every program, operation, and job. They'll report to the board of directors by the end of February, with suggestions on where they can save money.
More than 13,000 people work for TVA and Director Bill Baxter says 40% will be eligible for retirement soon. The board hopes most of the coming cutbacks will be those employees now on the verge of retiring, who voluntarily do it early. If more cuts are necessary, there will be layoffs.
"We're going to be thoughtful and considerate before we make decisions," explains TVA Board Chairman Glenn McCullough, Junior. "If an area of the corporation is determined to have an overstaffed situation, we would requ4est for voluntary retirements, that would be the first step and, if that action is called for it would probably be unfolded in February."
One way the power supplier promises to save money is through the board chairman himself. Glenn McCullough spent $472,000 in the last three years flying on the TVA plane.
"My travel expenses will be reduced," he said during the TVA Board meeting on Wednesday.
"We're treating all expenditures the same," Harris says. "We're looking at them now and saying, 'Is this the best expenditures of that money?' I think Glenn is looking at his costs and looking at ways to reduce that. I think it's no different than any other cost area that TVA has."