06/22/16

Mayor Passes off Water Works Management to
Violia North America Company.
No further info available.

editorial by Jim Gerrish

From the City Web site:

Mayor Taylor to make presentation on EOWC during U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Water Council

East Orange, NJ, June 22, 2016: Mayor Lester E. Taylor III, along with Jonathan Carpenter, Director of Business Development, Veolia North America, will be delivering a presentation “Leveraging P3 to Transform the East Orange Water Commission” during the 84th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Water Council Meeting on Friday, June 24, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The presentation will focus on best practices and the East Orange Water Commission’s partnership with Veolia North America to improve and enhance services for the once-beleaguered water utility.

Taylor is one of two mayors presenting. Mayor Jerry Willey of Hillsboro, Oregon will also present “Municipal Program Management Partnership for Regional Water Supply Development,” which focuses on Hillsboro’s 100+ year-old water system.

East Orange has seen dramatic changes to its own water utility within the past two years. After inheriting an EOWC that suffered from aging infrastructure, fiscal and technical mismanagement, and a damaged reputation due to ethical and criminal misconduct by former employees, the Taylor administration overhauled the Board of Commissioners, which later entered into a contract with Veolia North America to help provide short-term management solutions to getting the utility back on track.

East Orange’s partnership with Veolia has produced hundreds of dollars in cost savings, closed a $4 million shortfall, and maximized productivity.

To download a copy of the case study for East Orange’s partnership with Veolia, please visit
http://veolianorthamerica.com

 

Don't bother: No such case study exists on the Veolia Web site. Instead the Veolia site rehashes the same "news":

From the Veolia Web site:

E. Orange Mayor Discusses Fiscal Management

In a recent interview during the New Jersey U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, city of East Orange, NJ Mayor Lester E. Taylor III discussed the ways his administration is applying different ideas to responsibly manage taxpayers’ funds, while providing outstanding service to residents and business owners.

One area Mayor Taylor and city leadership felt required attention was the city of East Orange Water Department.

Mayor Taylor said, “When I took office, there was a $3.5 million deficit at the (Water) Commission and we didn’t have experts in running a utility at the Commission. So, through a fair, open, competitive bid process Veolia was selected—one of the number one companies in the world. They are operating and maintaining the system for the short term.” Veolia was recently awarded a contract to provide interim operations, maintenance and management services to the city of East Orange Water Department.

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Given the mayor's poor track record for transparency and accountability, I note the following:

This (6/22/16) is the first public mention of Veolia's name in connection with OUR City Water Works.

Upon examining the most recently posted approved budget for Calendar Year 2016, I find NO MENTION of Veolia's involvement with OUR City Water Works.

I have seen no evidence of a fair, open, competitive bid process for locating "experts in running a utility" for the Water Works.

Knowing that since October of 2014, the mayor has had ambitions to run for governor of New Jersey in 2017, we have seen a surge in his appearances at various mayoral events around the state, and this is an opportunity for yet another mayoral "schmoozing" session.

One would think that this “Leveraging P3 to Transform the East Orange Water Commission” presentation OUGHT to be made to the taxpayers and water customers footing the bill for all the mayor's shenannigans BEFORE running off to present it at some U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Water Council. I'd like to know what the heck "P3" has to do with our water supply and why it has to be "leveraged".

jimgerrish@yahoo.com

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