Some Oppose GRDA's Planned Operational Office In Tulsa

Wednesday, May 2nd 2012, 9:55 pm
By: News On 6

A big move is on the horizon fir the Grand River Dam Authority. The agency plans to relocate some of its operations to Tulsa.

The new CEO of GRDA confirmed those plans Wednesday. But not everyone thinks the move is a good idea.

The Grand River Dam Authority is a self-funded state agency that provides wholesale electric power to entities across the state.

It's based out of Vinita, but has multiple dams and operational facilities in Northeastern Oklahoma. Soon, Tulsa could be added to this list.

The GRDA wants to buy a 42,000 square foot building in East Tulsa for about $2.6 million, a tiny portion of their net assets.

However, employees say they can't imagine why GRDA needs a Tulsa office and say they're been kept in the dark.

In an email, one employee told the impact team: "This reminds me of the purchase of the 'offices' in OKC."

The employee was referring to the GRDA offices over Hooters in Bricktown that were the center of some controversy. Many saw this office as an unnecessary expense by then CEO Kevin Easley.

Some employees believe the Tulsa office is also unnecessary, and point to the fact that the new CEO, Former State Representative Dan Sullivan, is from Tulsa.

But Sullivan claims the Tulsa office will actually save money. He says it will house GRDA's new backup control center and engineering and transmission center which the agency was going to build near Pryor, for a significantly higher cost.

The Tulsa facility, he says, will also house employees of the Locust Grove facility which he says needs to be remodeled, even though it was already extensively remodeled in 2010.

Plus, Sullivan says, having a Tulsa office will help GRDA recruit employees who don't want to live in smaller towns - like Salina or Locust Grove - or commute.

Mr. Sullivan would not say how many people will work in the Tulsa facility, but said they would include engineers, IT and energy marketing employees.

He says he'll present the board with a contract at its next meeting on the May 9, 2012.

12/9/2011 Related Story: GRDA Bidding Process Under Fire In New Audit