CUC hires chief engineer; 3 other posts may be filled soon


The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. now has a chief engineer—one of the requirements of a court order.

Acting CUC executive director William Gilmore disclosed that CUC has been able to fill its chief engineer post after the candidate chosen for the position signed a two-year contract last Friday.

The new chief engineer will start work on Aug. 21.

Gilmore did not disclose the chief engineer’s name yet, but hinted that he is from Idaho.

“We got his signature. He signed his contract this afternoon. We’re very happy. It’s finally resolved,” said Gilmore Friday.

He said there were actually 12 candidates for the position.

The position has been vacant since Nov. 2, 2018, when the previous chief engineer, Song Kim, resigned for personal matters.

As for the three other unfilled management positions—drinking water and wastewater division manager, wastewater treatment plant supervisor, and the technical manager for oil—Gilmore said that they are almost done with the hiring process.

He said they are going to interview the candidate for the drinking water and wastewater division manager position this week.

The position, previously held by Gary Byrd, has been vacant since Nov. 2, 2018, when he resigned to accept an off-island job.

As for the candidate for the wastewater treatment plant supervisor, Gilmore said if the candidate accepts the job offer they sent him, they will finish the hiring process this week.

The position has been vacant since Feb. 3, 2019 when Richard Wasser left for an off-island job.

As for the technical manager for oil position, Gilmore said they have to choose between two persons and the interview of the second candidate will most likely be this week too.

“So it may take another week [to hire a technical manager for oil],” Gilmore said.

That position has been unfilled since Feb. 13, 2019, when Maximino Simian resigned to accept an off-island job offer.

Gilmore earlier said that the hiring of the four positions is taking longer than expected as candidates withdrew due to better offers from competing interests, candidates that did not meet CUC’s requirements, nor offered skills that meet the expectations suitable for the position.

In the U.S. government’s August 2019 status report recently filed in federal court, senior attorney Bradley R. O’Brien of the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division Environmental Enforcement Section, said it continues to be critical that the four key management positions be filled in order for CUC to be able to comply with Stipulated Order 1.

SO1 focuses on drinking water and wastewater and the restructuring of CUC’s organization.

O’Brien said CUC historically sustained lengthy vacancies in management positions, impending CUC’s operations and compliance with the federal court orders.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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