The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. will soon have a permanent executive director after the Fitial administration disclosed that it is awaiting word from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its nominees for the top post.
Press secretary Angel A. Demapan confirmed with Saipan Tribune Wednesday that Gov. Benigno R. Fitial has submitted to EPA a list of four candidates for consideration.
CUC has been functioning without a permanent executive director since Abe Utu Malae resigned from his post in May this year. He resigned after the governor's declaration of a state of emergency for CUC.
Malae served the executive director post from November 2010 to May 2012. Prior to this appointment, he was the agency's deputy director.
The recruitment and hiring process for the executive director post is being handled by the governor's office. The CUC executive director reports to the governor.
According to Demapan, around 30 individuals applied for the position, both from on- and off-island. Of these applications, the governor narrowed down the list to four whose names were submitted to EPA.
“The Office of the Governor submitted its recommended Top 4 applicants to EPA. Now, EPA should be reviewing the four candidates to determine who is best qualified to fill the position of executive director. The administration is currently awaiting further communication from EPA,” Demapan said, without naming the top candidates.
He could not immediately say when a new CUC chief will be named pending a decision from EPA.
CUC already failed to meet EPA's deadline to name a new chief. CUC was given 150 days, or until Nov. 28 this year, to recruit a new executive director.
At the moment, Alan Fletcher, the agency's deputy director for water and wastewater, is serving as executive director in an acting capacity.
CUC is still under a state of emergency and is working to address the requirements of two stipulated orders.
Stipulated Order I requires CUC to create a new management and financial structure. It is related to CUC’s inadequacy of providing potable drinking water and wastewater services.
Stipulated Order II involves the lack of infrastructure for safe fuel storage, handling and transfer facilities of the power generation facilities, and power distribution.