The needler in the haystack.

Monday, April 1, 2013

$1 million 'gift' coming back to haunt PMUA Board?



Is its $1 million 'gift' to former executives Eric Watson and Dave Ervin coming back to haunt the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) Board of Commissioners?

Could be.

Word comes that the PMUA has been in receipt for some time now of a letter from the New Jersey Public Advocate, excoriating the Board for having awarded the $1 million as 'capricious'.

Further, the internal ruckus caused by the action itself, in which newly appointed members Malcolm R. Dunn and Cecil Sanders brought along member Alex Toliver in prevailing over the other two Commissioners (Brokaw and Mitchell) in making the award, led one of the agency's insurers to cancel the provision of 'Officers and Directors' insurance for that action.

'Officers and Directors' insurance policies typically indemnify the insured (in this case the individual Commissioners) against lawsuits over matters pertaining to the performance of their duties.

Refusal by an insurer to cover any particular action of the Board suggests that the insurer's guess is that it would be left holding the bag if there were a lawsuit over the matter. (It seems likely that those who carried the day -- Dunn, Sanders and Toliver -- could find themselves liable for any damages in a civil suit on the matter; Brokaw and Mitchell not so.)

It will be interesting to see how things develop.

Unfortunately, my copy of the letter is smudged, and I cannot make out if it is dated May, 2012 or April 1, 2013.





-- Dan Damon [follow]

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quick review. Messrs. Ervin's and Watson's employment contracts were well articulated.The benefits to which they would and would not be entitled in the event of their resignation were specified. There was not the remotest provision for a 1 million dollar bonus. So, after submitting their resignations what was the basis for the claim and subsequent Arbitration hearing? The PMUA officials have refused to answer that question on the grounds that as part of the Settlement Agreement the parties agreed to Confidentiality. Very cute. What can be reasonably concluded from hearsay and common sense is that the claim was founded on alleged emotional distress which arose from the rigors of the job and more particularly by the barrage of public criticism which had beset the Agency following the 20% rate hike in 2008. If the claim was founded on this theory then the remedy was medical assistance under the provisions of Workman's Compensation Insurance. Employees are barred from making claims of this nature against employers. A examination of events also suggests that the the claim was premeditated, that is, contemplated prior to, or concurrent with the submission of the resignations. The fact that the employment contracts with both Mr. Watson and Mr. Ervin had previously been for 4 years duration and had recently been extended for only 1 year points in this direction. Then too, there is a grave question of what are the limitations to the Commissioners largesse? The Commissioners, theoretically, are committed to serving the "public interest". This is a loose phrase, but it is not meaningless. Who are these guys to gift a million bucks to individuals who have filed a frivolous law suite? From what authority do they derive the ability to award a million dollars of the ratepayers hard earned money? What is the limit of the Commissioner's authority to make awards outside of the jurisdiction of the law? If they can award 1 million now why not 5 million, or 10 million the next time? Reuctio ad absurdum.

Perhaps even more frightening than the million dollar boondoggle is the fact that these men, the Commissioners, are still there and will be there for along time. No one outside of their political cabal can obtain an appointment to the Board of Commissioners. Their latest avoidable indiscretion is the Britton Industies waste removal contract which is still unfolding. Maybe the cavalry is coming..it will be interesting to see. In the meantime if you don't approve of these shenanigans..OPT OUT. Bill Kruse

Anonymous said...

The PMUA Board members should work for $1 per year. Why should the hard working tax payers of Plainfield pay them $5,000? per year pluss Health and pension benefits? The Board members that Gerry Green has put on the PMUA have not done us more harm than good and have cost the tax payers of Plainfield Millions.The Board members should pay for the new Insurance rate hike and not the TAX PAYERS of Plainfield.

Anonymous said...

The Board members of the PMUA should pay for their own insurance and not the rate payers. During this next election the voters and not Gerry Green should should say who is a PMUA Board member. Dan,how many signatures does it take to get this on the November ballot? We need Change for the better in Plainfield.

Anonymous said...

Jail for them all!