Who is the CFPUA? Who runs the Authority? Who regulates the Authority?
These were questions I started asking recently, and I have found no real definitive answers.
I started with the NC Public Utilities Commission. They regulate private companies, those not regulated by the local municipalities. CFPUA was not regulated by them. That meant the municipality was to govern the body and be liable for any problems. Supposedly.
The State Attorney General's Office returned a call wherein I had been seeking information. I believe the office was a general hotline or consumer section. Through that office, I was told that the county and city board members are on the board, so they run the Authority, that it is a municipality situation. I was also given the section of law under which Authorities are to be created - NCGS 162A-1. This is an 18 page section, that I will be studying soon.
So, this information would leave the normal person believing the city council and county board run the Authority and are liable for any problems. This could not be further from the truth. Just try calling the City of Wilmington and ask them if they run the water utility.
It is my understanding that there are 11 board members, 4 from the municipality, and the rest appointed. If the municipality has the authority to remove board members, and I do not know that they do, then it would again appear that the municipality was running the Authority. However, liabilty is a different issue.
Apparently, the charter or contract that set up the Authority, left all liability in the Authority's lap. This includes an EPA investigation that has been ongoing since before the Authority was formed. I have learned that $2 million has been earmarked by either the City or County to go toward fines if the EPA finds against them. The Authority will have to pay any other fines, and that means we will.
I noticed in the article above, that CFPUA asked the City Council to hire a debt collection agency. WAIT!!! WHOA!!! Who is running what? Why would they ask the City of Wilmington or New Hanover County for anything? What type of fiasco is this?
My opinion - I believe the CFPUA was set up deliberately to avoid being regulated by the state. I believe the board members that are County Commisioners and City Council Members, are there just to keep the system out of the state regulatory powers. Note here though, that just because the individuals are on the board, that does not mean they voted for the CFPUA to be formed. That assumption would be erronious. Furthermore, since the aforementioned board members who are on CFPUA's board, make less than a majority, it effectively ties the hands of the local municipalities, and their set up removes responsibility from the City and County. In a nutshell, I believe this was done DELIBERATELY, by finding or creating a loophole in the law. It might be legal (something I will continue to research), but the moral and ethical implications are suspect. Those who were party to such a manuever would never be individuals I would hope children would inspire to follow.
It might be an interesting side to note that I was told by a city employee, that the individual who basically ran the City of Wilmington Public Utility, is at CFPUA. She and I have spoken before, back in March or thereabout.
I welcome response from CFPUA on this matter.
And by the way, CFPUA could set up an inhouse collection agency on their own. I helped do that in a previous job; it can be done.
A man who will not stand up for something, will fall for anything. Unknown
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