Thursday, May 27, 2010

DWSD Director's Retirement Confirmed

More than a month after reports first surfaced that DWSD Director Pamela Turner was going to retire, Crain's Detroit Business reports today that it has confirmed Ms. Turner's retirement from the federal judge who oversees the Detroit and Sewerage Department, Judge John Feikens. 
Ms. Turner began her career with DWSD in 1977. She was promoted Interim Director in September, 2008 By Mayor Cockrel and later to Director a year later by Mayor Bing
Ms. Turner's retirement comes at time when DWSD revenues are falling due to lower water consumption and Detroit's shrinking population.  In addition, DWSD is expecting to lose many of its engineering and middle management staff over the next couple of years.  The next director will face many challenges, plus an ever aging physical infrastructure.  

Monday, May 17, 2010

Genesee County Hired Sam Riddle to Assist in DWSD Pipeline Negotiations

The Flint Journal reported on May 14, 2010 (here) that Sam Riddle served as a political consultant to the Genesee County Drain Commission for nearly two years, from March, 2007 to November, 2008. Riddle, who faces prison under federal corruption charges, was reportedly paid $2,000 per month, plus expenses. According to John O'Brien, Director of Water and Waste Systems, Riddle's consulting company, Meridian Management Systems, was hired to assist Genesee County in its negotiations with the City of Detroit in connection with  a new 30-year water supply contract. No contract was ever signed. 

Genesee County has since formed a new water authority (the Karegnondi Water Authority) and announced plans to move forward with the installation of a new $600 million water pipeline and water treatment plant

Update: On May 20, 2010, the Flint Journal reported (here) that Genesee County's contract with Sam Riddle included services related to its new pipeline.  

Update: On June 4, 2010, the Flint Journal reported (here) that Genesee County paid the now-imprisoned Sam Riddle $44,000 in consulting fees.  However, in response to a FOIA request for documentation concerning the scope and nature of Riddle's consulting services, the Genesee County Drain Commissioner (Jeff Wright) reported having no documentation. Adding now to the mystery of Riddle's role, if any, in Genesee County's (unsuccessful) negotiations with DWSD are reports (here)  that the Jeff Wright was cooperating at the same time with the FBI in its efforts to build a public corruption case against Sam Riddle.  Hmmm. . . Was Genesee County's consulting agreement with Riddle legitimate or part of a sting operation?   

Update: On October 6, 2010, Sam Riddle was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for his role in the Synagro bribery scandal.