After nearly three decades with Homer Electric Association, including better than a dozen years as the cooperative's general manager, Norm Story has retired.
According to an HEA press release issued Monday, Story tendered his resignation at a special meeting of the HEA board of directors Friday.
Under an agreement between Story and the board, Story will remain an employee of Homer Electric until Jan. 15, 2005. However, his active service with the cooperative concluded Friday, the press release said.
HEA's Manager of Finance, Rick Eckert, will become interim general manager until the board finds a replacement. A phone message left for Eckert was not returned by late Monday afternoon. Efforts to reach Story also were unsuccessful.
HEA Board President David Carey spent Monday meeting with HEA employees discussing Story's departure.
"It was a busy day," he said late Monday.
Though he is done working, Story will remain a paid employee with HEA for the next 18 months because his contract had allowed him to accrue leave, Carey said. He rarely took much time off.
"Norm has always been extremely hard working and a driving person," Carey said. "One of my concerns was for him to take time for himself. He does have a goodly amount of leave built up."
Story joined HEA in 1975. In 1983, he became Homer district manager and in 1990 was appointed general manager.
"The Homer Electric board of directors would like to extend its sincere appreciation to Norm Story for his tireless commitment and dedication to the cooperative and its membership," Carey said in Monday's press release. "During Mr. Story's tenure as general manager, Homer Electric has made considerable progress."
Among the major projects completed while Story was at the helm were construction of the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Plant, the installation of the Nikiski cogeneration facility and the replacement of the submarine cable from Homer to McKeon Flats on the south side of Kachemak Bay.
Improvements to customer service, a new Web site, online billing and a reduction in the hours of outage also were part of Story's legacy, according to Carey.
"Mr. Story's career with Homer Electric is a reflection of the principles that guide electric cooperatives," Carey said. "Through his efforts, Homer Electric has become a leader in the cooperative industry and the board would like to thank him for all he has done."
Carey said the board would begin the process of selecting a replacement shortly.
"You don't really replace him as much as find someone to continue the work," Carey noted. "Is someone going to fill his shoes? No. The nature of the process is to go out and do the best you can (at finding a qualified manager)."
A special meeting of the board is scheduled for July 29, when the board will determine specifically what the process of selection will be.
Carey said he anticipates a nationwide search, probably with the help of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
An HEA board election in May unseated two long-time members, including 37-year veteran Robert Turkington of Homer and nine-year veteran Ron Rainey of Kenai.
Carey declined to comment on whether Story's decision to retire now had anything to do with the changes on the board.
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