Letter: Who Is Really Running the Water Authority?
Bristol County Water Authority seems to work under a different standard for hiring executives.
Bristol Town Council Chairman Ken Marshall recently wrote a Letter to the Editor of the local papers entitled: "Conspiracy Theories and Attacks Hinder Bristol Town Council Efficiency". To the contrary, it appears the actual record of events leans closer to the "conspiracy" side in spite of Chairman Marshall's efforts to squash resident concerns.
Residents are aware that recently, a search has been underway to replace the BCWA Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer. Both announced their resignations around the time the B&E Audit was released. These are two important positions at BCWA. In the normal course of running a business, one would expect that a responsible Board of Directors would have engaged a well-qualified, independent executive search firm to spearhead the hiring of a new Executive Director. Then, the new Executive Director would be expected to build his own team of professionals. The BCWA Board seems to work under a different standard.
At the BCWA meeting held on Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011, it was revealed that BCWA attorney Sandra Mack said her law firm would be doing most of the work related to the hiring of a new Executive Director to save money. It appears BCWA didn't even attempt to get a quote for an outside independent search firm to expedite the vetting. They just charged off on another "let’s pay Mrs. Mack" excellent adventure. This is in contrast to another recent excellent adventure with Mrs. Mack whereby the board apparently squandered a reported $65,000 paid to Mrs. Mack's law firm for battling open meetings complaints that could have been resolved with about an hour’s worth of simple advice to BCWA about compliance with the law.
New Director Joseph Demelo was the only board member in the above mentioned BCWA Board meeting who had any questions as to why BCWA doesn't get it that residents (and the BCWA employees) want some independence in this matter and not a choreographed "insider dance" for a new Executive Director (I add my own descriptive phrases for emphasis as Director Demelo was much more diplomatic).
Director Allan Klepper did make a recommendation during the meeting that another set of eyes should look at this matter. He recommended involving the Tri-Town managers. Unfortunately, that suggestion misses the point. The Board did not even attempt to get a quote from an independent search firm to expedite an independent vetting. And BCWA will still have to pay Sandra Mack's law firm for their "inside" involvement.
Following the release of the B&E audit, B&E Consulting met with the Warren Town Council. B&E's summary was clear that if residents don't like what's going on, they should think about replacement of those council members who stand by in silence taking only "window dressing" steps to end this problem. It is time to heed B&E's advice.
Gary Morse, 2 Westwood Lane, Barrington