The City of Larned has enlisted Midwest Energy to provide temporary maintenance and service work for the city’s electrical department following an internal investigation into several employees, Larned Mayor William Nusser announced Wednesday.
According to a statement released Wednesday by Nusser, in early July, the City of Larned conducted an internal investigation into various allegations about several employees. City Manager Bradley Eilts worked with the City Council members and Nusser, appropriate law enforcement agencies, and others in the handling of the matter.
Nusser indicated the city will have no further comment on the nature of that investigation.
Following the investigation, however, on July 14, to ensure uninterrupted electrical service to Larned, Eilts approached Midwest Energy about possibly serving the city by running electrical service orders and performing electric construction and storm restoration work.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Midwest Energy, as they have supplied wholesale power to the city for years,” said Eilts. “Midwest Energy said they could have a servicemen in Larned during business hours, and the fact that Midwest Energy has multiple electric crews and servicemen in Great Bend, a short drive from Larned, reassured us they could be responsive when we needed them.”
On July 15, Midwest Energy assumed electric system service and maintenance roles, while the city works towards long-term solutions.
“From the resident’s perspective, this should be pretty seamless,” Nusser said. “Customers will contact the city for service requests and problems, as they always have, and the city will handle all billing and customer service issues,” he said. “The only difference is it will be a Midwest Energy employee in a Midwest Energy truck showing up to do the work.”
Nusser added he does not have a timeline for how long Midwest will be helping, but assured residents the system is in good hands.
“Their operations people sat down with our city manager, power plant team, and other city employees to ensure we can operate and maintain the system in the safest and most efficient way possible,” Nusser said. “I’m convinced we can do that.
“The serviceman working here, Rusty McClendon, actually started as a lineman with the City of Larned back in the ‘90s, and has more than 20 years of experience,” Nusser added. “Their crews have come over, talked to our people and studied our maps and circuits. They’re capable and ready to help us out.”