Officials Defend Schardein’s Involvement in MSD Restructuring

by Erica Peterson on December 20, 2011

As Louisville Water Company CEO Greg Heitzman prepares to take over as interim director of the Metropolitan Sewer District, he’ll be doing so with input from ousted executive director Bud Schardein.

Auditor Crit Luallen’s report scrutinized MSD’s actions over the past three years, and found fairly egregious managerial and ethical problems. Part of the problem was ingrained leadership, and a level of coziness that created conflicts of interest.

Schardein was at the helm that entire time, but when Fischer announced a leadership shakeup last week, he said Schardein would be staying on as a consultant for at least a few months.

Mayor’s spokesman Chris Poynter says Schardein will help ease the transition as Heitzman addresses the issues raised by the audit.

“[Schardein] has been a good leader,” Poynter said. “He may not have been a good manager, but there’s no question that he knows the sewer system, he knows the flood protection system. And you only have to look at the spring floods to determine what a great job MSD did.”

But still undecided is how Schardein will be compensated, and what his retirement package will look like.

In 2008, Schardein was promised a $200,000 deferred compensation package if he remained until January 2013. Though his retirement will likely be effective before then, because it’s a contractual agreement, Poynter says it will probably be pro-rated.

Incoming interim director Greg Heitzman told other media outlets that he hasn’t decided how much Schardein will be paid as a consultant. While he was executive director, Schardein’s annual salary was $181,000, plus bonuses.

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