April 22, 2004 – Carol Burke, the former Water and Power Authority board chair who was hired last October as the utility's director of corporate services, was relieved of her duties on Wednesday.
Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnik, a WAPA board member, confirmed on Thursday that Burke was dismissed by the authority's executive director, Alberto Bruno-Vega, for a violation of WAPA regulations.
The termination was presented in writing to the board at its Thursday meeting, Rutnik said, along with notice of an expedited appeal to the board that Burke immediately filed. As of Thursday, Daryl Lynch, board chair, had not set a date for the appeal hearing, Rutnik said.
Bruno-Vega said a Hovensa employee that Burke hired continued to work at the refinery while also drawing a paycheck from WAPA. He said that was in violation of WAPA regulations.
The employee, whom Rutnik believes was Burke's secretary, began working for WAPA in early December but didn't resign from the Hovensa position until Jan. 5. Both the employee and Burke were fired on Wednesday, Rutnik said.
Burke, a former one-term senator, served four years on the WAPA board beginning in 1999, three of them as chair. She said at a WAPA board retreat last October at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel that she was considering taking a position in the utility when she went off the board. She became WAPA's director of corporate services later that month. (See "Burke to leave WAPA board, join executive staff".)
Rutnik also said: "In defense of both Ms. Burke and Mr. Bruno-Vega, there are two sides to every story, and it will be up to the board to determine which side of the story will prevail."
Bruno-Vega did not return calls for comment on Thursday afternoon.
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