New MSD Director Outlines Corrective Action Plan

by Erica Peterson on December 19, 2011

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the next several months will be a period of transition for the Metropolitan Sewer District. Fischer spoke with the MSD board today after he announced major leadership changes in the wake of a scathing state audit of MSD. He says one of the options he wants to explore is collaboration between similar agencies.

“Around the country it’s not uncommon at all for water companies, sewer districts, public works departments to work together on things such as fleet maintenance, bulk purchasing, looking at all types of efficiencies,” Fischer said. “So for the good of the entire community, we’ll be appointing an advisory task force to take a look at that.”

Louisville Water Company President Greg Heitzman will lead the Metropolitan Sewer District for the next several months. Heitzman says he wants to address some of the audit’s findings over the next month, while other changes will be rolled out over the next 60 or 90 days. A formal response is due to the auditor’s office by mid-February.

He says one of the first things he’ll look into is the audit’s finding that some of MSD’s discretionary spending was spent inappropriately—on conferences, holiday parties, and more than $42,000 on potted green plants for the office.

“If necessary, we’ll suspend some of the discretionary spending until we can make sure to the public that any type of discretionary spending is in the best interest of our ratepayers and in the best interest of our customer,” he said.

The audit also faulted MSD for not soliciting competitive bids for their legal counsel. Heitzman wants to examine the position, and says he expects to release a request for proposals soon.

While Heitzman is at MSD, he’ll be advised by longtime executive director Bud Schardein. Fischer asked Schardein to retire after the audit was made public.

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