The Commonwealth Public Utilities Commission vows to maintain its independence and autonomy at all times and won’t succumb to any pressure that may come its way, including “politics.”
Commission chair Joseph Guerrero and members Dave Guerrero and Oscar Quitugua told Saipan Tribune this, expressing their united position not to meddle in politics involving the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.
A resolution filed last week in the state House of Representatives recommends the removal of Alan Fletcher as CUC executive director. It cited the official’s “poor record of performance.”
“That’s too political for us,” Quitugua said.
This was echoed by his colleagues, who are convinced that the matter requires no attention from the regulatory body.
“It’s beyond the scope of the commission’s rule. The only thing I would say is this: stipulated orders and best practices is to hire qualified people. There’s specific qualifications require for certain positions and all these needs the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the federal judge also has a say,” Guerrero said.
The three commissioners said they don’t see any problem with whoever sits as CUC’s management so long as they have proven credentials and are qualified for the job.
When asked for comment, Fletcher said he hasn’t seen the resolution yet. But he assured that he will continue to work with the Legislature to meet the desired stability of the islands’ utilities agency. He said he plans to directly work with both the House and Senate, including supplying any needed information.
The resolution was primarily authored by Rep. Frank Dela Cruz, who is vice chair of the House Public Utilities, Transportation and Communications Committee. It was filed days after the CPUC initially agreed to CUC’s proposed increase in its electric base rates, which became final Wednesday.
Based on the resolution, “Fletcher is not able to carry out the duties and responsibilities to manage the administration and operation of CUC in a satisfactory manner.”
Fletcher was also criticized on other issues, including the approval of the Telesource change order contract, “unnecessary” business expenses of the agency, and unrealized renewable energy, among other issues.
Fletcher was first hired at CUC in February 2011 as deputy executive director and administrator of the water and wastewater division. He served the executive director position in an acting capacity for quite some time until his contract was not renewed by then-governor Benigno Fitial. Gov. Eloy S. Inos hired Fletcher back on his first day as governor.
Based on his résumé, Fletcher is a professional utility manager with about 30 years experience in water and wastewater operations, regulatory compliance, capital and strategic planning, and financing.
Prior to serving CUC, Fletcher 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 received his bachelor’s degree in Management and Communications from Concordio College in Portland, Oregon, and earned his master’s degree in Business Administration from George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.