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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Inos hints at keeping Fletcher on as CUC chief

Despite calls to fire Commonwealth Utilities Corp.’s executive director Alan Fletcher, the Executive Branch seems inclined to keep him at his post.

Gov. Eloy S. Inos conveyed this in an interview Friday at the Northern Marianas College, where he witnessed the announcement of the college reaffirmation of its accreditation.

Early this month, a resolution was filed at the House of Representatives recommending Fletcher’s removal. The legislation cited as reason the official’s “poor record of performance” at the utilities agency.

“I think we really need to dwell on that thing—performance. We haven’t had extreme power outages [for some years now]. So which performance are we talking about? If that performance reflects on Mr. Fletcher, how can that be negative [on him]?” asked the governor.

Inos said he has yet to see the resolution calling for Fletcher’s termination. Once he gets the chance, he said he will take a look at the legislative findings behind the proposal.

But for now, “I don’t really want to go into that thing.”

Inos pointed out that Fletcher applied for the post when it was announced and was among the candidates on the shortlist.

“We open up the position and he applied, among others. He was shortlisted, his name was passed on to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and EPA had no problem [hiring him],” said Inos.

He said EPA maintains stringent qualifications and requirements for the executive director position, along with deputy director and chief financial officer.

Based on his résumé, Fletcher is a professional utility manager with approximately 30 years experience in water and wastewater operations, regulatory compliance, capital and strategic planning, and financing. Prior to serving CUC, he worked at the Manchester Water District of Manchester in Washington; the port of Manchester; at the Clackamas River Water Authority of Clackamas in Oregon; and for the Clairmont Water District of Oregon City.

Fletcher was first hired at CUC in February 2011 as deputy executive director and administrator of the water and wastewater division. He was the acting executive director for quite some time.

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