The V.I. Water and Power Authority Governing Board has installed acting Executive Director Julio Rhymer to the position on a permanent basis, according to the utility. Rhymer has served in an acting capacity since Jan. 26.
WAPA Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Armstrong said in a statement Wednesday afternoon, “The governing board completed its interview process on Monday and made its formal selection at a meeting Wednesday."
"In the end, we selected Mr. Rhymer from a field of three finalists to fill the vacancy,” Armstrong said, adding that Rhymer has had the opportunity over the last six months to manage the day-to-day operations and that he has served well in that capacity.
Rhymer, who joined WAPA in 2012 as chief financial officer, has also had the opportunity to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the public utility and has developed a keen understanding of the direction the authority must go in to improve its operational efficiency and reliability, Armstrong said.
Attorney Gerald Groner said the board’s three-member selection committee narrowed the candidates for the position down to three from an initial 10. He said while all three were capable and received equal consideration, “at the end of the day Mr. Rhymer stood out.”
Groner said the board was impressed by the action plan Rhymer put together to address the WAPA’s recent downgrade and by the plan he presented during the interview process, which outlined his vision to lead the authority.
Armstrong said, “Rhymer brings a breadth of financial experience and knowledge to the leadership of WAPA at a time when the public utility is struggling to maintain its financial health. The board trusts that he will lean on the vast amount of experience that exists in the management of the power plants to steer WAPA into a more reliable and efficient power company, one that all Virgin Islanders can be proud of.”
Before coming to WAPA, Rhymer held leadership positions in the V.I. Housing Finance Authority, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and the Virgin Islands Legislature.
Board members participating in Wednesday’s meeting, which was held by video conference, included Groner, Vice Chairman Noel Loftus, Secretary Juanita Young, Commissioner Devin Carrington, Director Marvin Pickering and member Cheryl Boynes Jackson. Armstrong and Public Works Commissioner Gustav James were absent.