Security for MLGW top brass under scrutiny - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Security for MLGW top brass under scrutiny

Tight economic times require a tight-rein on the city's budget. That's part of the reason why security for some of MLGW's top brass is under scrutiny.

"Any waste of public dollars in city or county government is beyond distasteful," says Memphis Councilman Jack Sammons. "It's something that we can't tolerate," he adds.

Action News Five has learned that the security official who often accompanies MLGW President Joseph Lee recently attended a specialized school. R.L. Oatman and Associates in Maryland charged MLGW more than $3000 to teach David Winston executive-level security skills.

"It's just a piece in the overall puzzle," says Tommy Jackson.

Jackson is manager of facilities and loss prevention for MLGW. He says specialized security has been offered to past presidents of the public utility. It's up to them to take advantage of it.

"Mr. Lee has the prerogative of saying when he needs someone or wants someone and I can tell you, that's not 100 percent of the time," says Jackson.

When Lee is accompanied, Winston may do the driving and may be armed. Jackson says he could be what protects Lee from a disgruntled employee, rate-payer, or worse.

"Our program is an accurate program based on the peculiar needs that we have," says Jackson.

The question is: is it money well spent?

Both Jackson and Joseph Lee say executive security is not unusual. Many private companies have much more. But critics contend that those companies don't receive public money.

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