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March 18, 2013

GEUS employees may be allowed weapons

GREENVILLE — Employees of the local electric utility system will be allowed to carry concealed weapons while on the job in the future, provided they are licensed to do so.

The GEUS board of trustees intends to vote this week on changing the utility’s personnel policy, which previously prevented employees from carrying weapons even with a permit. The board also intends to formally install one new member, while beginning the process of choosing another.

The board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the GEUS Steam Plant, 4201 Power Lane in Greenville.

In a memo to the board, GEUS Power Supply Director Gary Singleton said the proposed change in policy was designed to help protect the utility’s employees .

“Employees may be subject to acts of violence in the workplace from customers, disaffected ex-employees, estranged spouses, or other deranged individuals,” Singleton said. “Although steps have been taken to establish secure perimeters to increase employee safety, penetration of these perimeters is still possible and an armed intruder can cause extensive harm prior to the arrival of law enforcement personnel.”

The current policy, which allows only licensed peace officers to carry weapons on GEUS premises, was implemented in 1996.

“However, Staff believes that permitting possession of a concealed weapon by employees with a current Texas Concealed Handgun License may deter an armed intruder or end a violent incident,” Singleton said.

The proposed policy would allow licensed peace officers or any individual possessing a valid State of Texas Concealed Handgun License to possess a firearm or other weapon on the premises of any GEUS owned or leased building in which utility conducts business.

Also Thursday, the board intends to formally induct Barry Gluck to the Place 4 seat being vacated by Richard Bays.

The City Council voted unanimously last week to approve Gluck’s appointment, to fill an unexpired term through May 6, 2015.

The City of Greenville Charter requires that the Mayor and the chairman of the GEUS board submit a replacement nominee for each vacancy.

The board is responsible for determining qualifications of each nominee.

Thursday, the board is set to nominate Michael E. Taylor to the Place 1 seat, to replace Howard Winans, who is completing his second consecutive term.

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