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Friday, May 17, 2024
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WAPA MANAGERS DECLINE RESIGNATION REQUEST

Top managers of the V.I. Water and Power Authority are still on the job after informing the WAPA governing board Thursday on St. Thomas that they would not resign at present.
Last week the board requested the resignations of top managers of the public utility during a six-month review of their performance. Board Secretary Andrew Rutnik said Friday evening that letters were received from the WAPA executive staff, most of them written by attorneys retained by the staff members, indicating a reluctance to submit their resignations.
"They basically were correspondence indicating in many cases that the attorneys will represent them through the evaluation period and that they did not feel compelled to resign at this time," Rutnik said.
He declined to discuss the board's next move and said, "It's an issue that we decided to discuss in executive session on Thursday and I really can't get into the details."
An earlier Source story mistakenly stating the board had received the managers' resignations was taken off the Web site Friday immediately after the error was pointed out.
Among the staff requested to resign: Executive Director Raymond George, Assistant Executive Director Glenn Rothgeb, General Counsel Cathy Smith, Internal Auditor Leslie Smith, Assistant to the Director Edward Milligan, Human Resources Manager Glen Bryon, Director of Engineering John Christian and Public Information Officer Patricia Blake Simmonds.
In other actions, the board approved the authority's Fiscal Year 2001 budgets for electrical and water services and a budget for electrical capital projects. The electrical operating budget came in at $111.1 million; the potable water operating budget totaled $28.8 million, while the electrical capital budget was pegged at $39 million.
Rutnik indicated the budgets are up about 5 percent over FY 2000.
During the financial report, the board was told by Comptroller Maurice Sebastien that the authority's external auditors planned to issue a qualified audit because of continuing high government receivables. Recent payments by the government were considered unusual occurrences and did not indicate an improvement in payment patterns.
Projects approved by the WAPA board included a boiler feed replacement for $92,500 from Camfer engineering, the purchase of an intake structure circulating water pump, asbestos abatement and insulation for generating Unit 11, and the purchase of superheater boiler tubes for one of the older generators, Unit 13.
The status report on the new 25,000-megawatt unit for the St. Thomas power plant indicated the draft permit will be advertised in print media next week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, beginning a 30-day technical public comment period on the permit.
Several board members expressed dismay when WAPA personnel revealed the authority was paying about $19,000 a month to store the new unit pending approval of the EPA permit. George explained that had the unit not been purchased well in advance of the permits being received, the authority would have faced a two-year wait for the unit to be constructed because manufacturer Pratt and Whitney has numerous back-orders.
Once the new unit is online, Unit 13 is expected to be taken down for a complete overhaul.

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