To the editor:
Six months time, some new blood, and an infusion of new ideas appear to be helping the Bristol County Water Authority get their ship back on course.
Barrington Director Robert Allio pointed out at the last meeting that their pension fund management company, which has been at the helm for at least 20 years, has underperformed for the last five years. It was decided to send out an RFP for a new Fund Management firm.
Director Allio has also started having regular Strategic Planning meeting where they address issues that have been dormant for quite some time, or absent. One of the items on the agenda is to prepare operations manuals, which they have not had in the past.
Director Allio had also suggested at a prior meeting that the website really needed to be brought up to speed and into the 21st century. Sue Andrade is working with Roger Williams students and is making great strides towards having a more interactive and informative website.
Progress is being made towards getting the East Providence interconnect completed along with a connection through to Pawtucket, giving us a back-up source of water. (If you remember, this is the same inter-connect that we were told by Mr. DeLise could be "turned on tomorrow" at the BCWA forum in January of 2011).
The RFP for Legal Services has been sent out and they are awaiting responses.
The union contract has been settled with the assistance of a federal mediator and it is a three year contract, falling into line with other municipal contracts. The new contract allows the Authority to switch from a defined benefit to a defined contribution plan for future employees, where the employees can make matching contributions. The new contract holds wages for the first two years with a 2.25% increase in the third year.
All in all, there is progress being made and the town councilors who supported appointing new members to the board are to be commended. Also worthy of mention is the fact that the new Executive Director, Pam Marchand, has been very receptive to all changes suggested by her board.
All of the above, coupled with a new emphasis on transparency, as evidenced by the taping of the meetings which are listed on the BCWA website, are encouraging. Thank you to all that supported these changes.