Vacant Chairs at the Top

There won't be a quorum of board members to supervise TVA until sometime into next year. Five of nine positions will be vacant as terms expire with this Congress, and there are no plans to take up the appointments during the lame-duck session.

The sitting board members of the $11 billion utility met Monday to try and make decisions in advance of the board being out of service into January. The utility also has a new CEO with the retirement of Tom Kilgore.

Tennessee's senators blame the Obama administration for not submitting names soon enough and not consulting them about the appointments. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says nominees to the board do not have enough business experience to run the giant utility, and Sen. Lamar Alexander said filling TVA board appointments do not seem to be a high priority for the administration.

Obama supporters say the two Republicans delayed action on the nominees, hoping for the election of Gov. Mitt Romney and having a new slate of nominees. President Obama nominated one position in February and four more in September. The nominees include Mike McWherter, the Democratic nominee for Tennessee governor in 2010, the re-appointment of Marilyn Brown, V. Lynn Evans, Joe Rich, and Peter Mahurin.