The Metropolitan Sewer District board has adopted a new ethics policy. The board voted unanimously for the proposal at its meeting today.
The new ethics policy covers all board members and senior staff, and is meant to deal with perceived conflicts of interest. It’s a step toward addressing the numerous concerns laid out by the state auditor in a scathing report of MSD released last year.
The new policy, which was adopted by the board unanimously, applies to all board members as well as MSD’s senior leadership. It prohibits them from doing business from companies MSD regulates, and also puts in place a revolving door provision to prevent them from moving immediately from MSD into the private sector.
Interim executive director Greg Heitzman was hired to replace former head Bud Schardein as a result of the ethical and managerial concerns that came to light. He says MSD is making progress toward addressing all of the audit’s recommendations.
“We fully intend to be in a position at the 60 day period to be able to provide a letter response back to the state auditor as to what is the progress with the audit and recommendations and our implementations of those various elements in the audit itself,” he said.
That 60-day period falls in mid-February.
The audit raised issues other than ethics that the board still has to address. As part of that, Mayor Fischer has appointed a task force to study a whole or partial merger between MSD, Louisville Water Company and Metro Public Works. Heitzman says it could make financial sense.
“That ultimately we could generate savings for our respective customers and be able to provide higher levels of service, higher levels of efficiency and productivity and the benefactor will be our ratepayers,” he said.
The task force’s first meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday at the Louisville Water Company’s corporate offices.