Alan W. Fletcher has welcomed and accepted the 30-day extension of his job contract with the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
“I am honored that Gov. [Eloy] Inos has asked me to stay on for an interim period and I appreciatively accepted,” said Fletcher yesterday, as he extended his congratulations to the new governor and Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider.
Yesterday was supposedly Fletcher's last day in office after his contract was not renewed by former governor Benigno R. Fitial for reasons many believe was due to their differences over a controversial $190.8-million power purchase agreement.
Fletcher is CUC deputy director of the Water and Wastewater Division and is also acting executive director since the departure of Abe Utu Malae in May last year.
CUC has been under a state of emergency since May 2012.
Inos said that CUC must continue to operate under some form of management until an executive director can be appointed. Both deputy director and executive director posts are requirements of the federal stipulated orders for CUC.
“Yesterday was a momentous day in CNMI history and while we witnessed a leadership change, our community is still faced with many challenges. The next 30 days will allow the governor and his team to work with CUC in identifying and setting priorities,” said Fletcher.
He enumerated some priorities when asked about his plans for the next 30 days.
“We currently have a lot on our plate, including our new automated utility billing and financial systems, telephone call center, power plant upgrades, [and] water and sewer system projects. These projects, plus the day-to-day business of delivering reliable services, will be our primary focus. I know I speak for everyone here at CUC in welcoming the new administration and in looking forward to working together to deliver quality services to the people of CNMI,” said Fletcher.
A few months ago, Fitial submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for concurrence a list of four executive director candidates. EPA has yet to issue a decision.
The deputy director post, meantime, was announced last week.
CUC is still working on addressing the requirements of two stipulated orders that seek to align CUC with the standards and requirements of the federal Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.