The Business of the City: Miscellaneous

Saturday, May 25, 2013

PMUA Furloughing Front-Line Workers: Unconscionable

Some PMUA front-line workers informed me of the five (5) furlough days they must take this year after having been told that the organization is losing money and must make it up somehow. They were told last month about this--either they can spread the days out, or they can take them all at once. Given that these workers don't get paid very much, I find it unconscionable that they are expected to lose a week's pay to fund the over $1million gift settlement that PMUA commissioners awarded to the resigned/retired executives Eric Watson and David Ervin in a backroom deal. See my previous blog post from a year ago, when the commissioners were pondering this (also posted in its entirety below):

PMUA: Making Workers Pay the Settlement?

Pictured at right: PMUA Executive Director Dan Williamson with the mayor's supporters at Faraones Campaign Event last night.

That Dan Williamson would, at the same time as instituting these furloughs for the lowest-paid workers also HIRE a new so-called "Security Director" to oversee four security guards at a $40,000+ PART-TIME salary is unconscionable. Here is a comment from the minutes of last year's meeting made by Mr. Mitchell: "Commissioner Mitchell indicated that the last time there were furloughs, the former administration hired even more people after the furloughs were over with and defeating the purpose." It looks like Dan Williamson doesn't care--when I asked him why he needed to spend the ratepayers' money on a new position, where the individual would only be supervising 4 security guards, he said he felt it was necessary. Let's see, after this election is over, how many additional patronage jobs will emerge. That Williamson is also supporting the mayor's re-election speaks volumes. Will she be putting on a PMUA uniform come January?


Pictured at left: Former PMUA Executive David Ervin, Ricky Williams, and mayor's friend and promoter of event Willie Jenkins in background at Faraones Campaign Event.

PMUA: Making the Workers Pay the Settlement? (4/14, 2012)

I received a blog comment from a resident who has been following the PMUA debacle very closely. In his comment, he forwarded minutes from the February 9, 2012 PMUA Committee Meeting, wherein the discussion included ways to pay the "settlement" (an annual $182,000) to former directors Watson and Ervin, a settlement made unethically (in my view) by new PMUA Commissioners Dunn and Sanders, who hadn't sat in on the arbitration process but who decided to circumvent the process to make an unconscionable "backroom" deal, for which I feel they should resign immediately--of course, they won't because they clearly are proud of their reprehensible actions.  

It turns out that there is an idea--called in the minutes one of "several scenarios"--to make the WORKERS pay for the settlement through furlough days--again, what happened to the "family" Mr. Dunn so cynically alluded to caring about? How any commissioner could even develop the mindset to consider putting the burden for his or her "sins" upon the front-line workers and office staff is beyond my ability to comprehend, given the golden parachute the commissioners have chosen to give to their favored sons.  In addition, Mr. Dunn made a suggestion to hire Watson and Ervin as "consultants, if needed." Flabbergasting! 
"To be led by the thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen." --OEB

Unconscionable. Read for yourself--the comments that jumped out at me are bold and highlighted in red.

From the February 9, 2012 PMUA Board of Commissioners Committee Meeting Minutes: 

"Several scenarios on how to pay for the former executive’s settlement of $182,000 per year. In the meantime, Alt. Commissioner Sanders is in favor of delaying the hiring of a Deputy Director and that Director Young can continue to perform two jobs. Commissioner Brown is in favor of the furlough of two days or so by current employees of the Authority and Commissioner Brokaw agreed and offering furloughs in conjunction with holidays could be more attractive. Commissioner Mitchell indicated that the last time there were furloughs, the former administration hired even more people after the furloughs were over with and defeating the purpose. We must keep those savings this time. Director Young expressed that if he continues to work two positions, the company will save an additional $72,000. Commissioner Dunn expressed the desire to pay the former executives their first installment regardless by this coming Tuesday. We can hire them as consultants if needed. Commissioner Brokaw wants the issue done with right now as well, however Eric Watson and David Ervin should not come back as vendors or anything else for that matter. It would not be good for the Authority, public or the employees and we need to discuss in executive session. Commissioner[s] Dunn and Sanders expressed that we need to find the money from somewhere."

"To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to."--OEB 

As Councilman Storch stated at the Monday, April 9 city council meeting, the worst enemies of the frontline PMUA workers and office staff are the commissioners themselves. 

All best,




  1. That's Sharon and Dan. Who trusts a lawyer anyway and we already don't trust Sharon. We can get rid of Sharon and I hope we can get rid of the garbage in the PMUA soon after the election.

  2. Temporarily laying off these workers without pay is what a furlough is, and "unconscionable" is exactly the right word! I have heard rumors that the workers are talking about forming a union, and that members of the Board whose names I won't mention are telling them that they'll all lose their jobs if they do.

    And the "furloughs" are to pay for that million dollar settlement? Absolutely outrageous!!

  3. Get rid of Sharon Briggs and fire her first man Willie Jenkins. Gut the PMUA....

  4. An early test of the new Mayor, assuming Mr. Mapp is elected, will be to see if Mayor Mapp nominates some competent people to serve as PMUA commissioners. A look under the sheets is long overdue.

    Bill Kruse