V.I. Waste Management Authority Still Seeking New Director

The V.I. Waste Management Authority is back to square one in searching for a new executive director after the selected candidate declined the position, according to a statement from the VIWMA governing board.

May Adams Cornwall, who directed the agency for more than a decade, retired at the end of February. She was appointed in 2005, a year after the agency was created, splitting its functions off from the Department of Public Works to try to meet the terms of several court orders and consent decrees regarding sewage treatment and landfill management.

Cornwall was the first and, to date, only director to serve on a permanent rather than acting or interim basis. Since then, some court mandates relating to sewage treatment have been met, while others relating to the landfills linger.

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The board reported Thursday it resumed its search for a new executive director after the selected candidate declined the position on July 29.

Steve Aubin, former VIWMA chief operating officer, has been acting director since Cornwall’s departure.

The agency has struggled with funding issues, with its budget declining from $41.2 million in 2008 to $31.65 million for Fiscal Year 2017. It also needs tens of millions of dollars to help it close the territory’s two landfills, to avoid millions of dollars in fines. Unpopular tipping fees are soon to be implemented to help defray some of these costs, although members of the V.I. Legislature have indicated they may oppose them on the grounds that people are suffering and cannot afford them. (See Related Links below)

On Thursday, the board hired attorney Marjorie Roberts as legal counsel to the board, approved a credit card for use by the board’s special assistant for board-related matters, and selected Harith Wickrema as new board chair.

It also approved a $135,840 contract to buy and install an odor control system at the Bethlehem Phase 4 Barren Spot Pump Station Force Main and Bethlehem Collection System. The system is to control odors from the nearby manholes near the Curriculum Center and in the vicinity of the Superior Court on St. Croix. The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of October.

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