While the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Commonwealth Attorney’s Office continue to investigate Bristol Virginia Utilities for alleged misuse of public funds, BVU Interim President and CEO Michael Bundy says he hopes to eliminate nine vacant positions within the public utility, three of them at the vice presidential level, to save rate payers more than $1 million.
According to Bundy, he’s made a wide range of changes since taking over back in August. In addition to proposed job cuts, he says the utility has decreased overtime by 22% resulting in $165,000 in savings. That’s on top of the $170,000 in credit card savings expected this year, Bundy said.
All of the reductions come at a time when investigators are looking into BVU’s history of questionable expenses, which include plenty of food purchases at local restaurants. That investigation, which started late last year, has many customers questioning the utility’s past. However, Bundy says he is now focused on the future.
“It’s been since June of 2008 that BVU had a BVU electric rate increase and the only way we’re going to be able to continue that trend is to be looking under every rock, looking behind every door and finding every rate payer dollar we can in order to squeeze that savings back out,” Bundy said.
As we’re learning more about the future, we’re also learning more about BVU’s past, which includes how much the utility paid former CEO Wes Rosenbalm when he resigned abruptly last September. According to his severance agreement, Rosenbalm collected $269,420. That included a $202,758 single payment (the equivalent of one year’s salary), $50,690 for vacation and sick leave and a monthly payment of $1,330.99 for a year to cover Rosenbalm and his family’s COBRA health insurance policy.
As part of the agreement, BVU Attorney Walt Bressler said the board also forgave a $20,000 loan Rosenbalm previously took out through the utility’s employee loan program and let him keep his iPad and iPhone. In addition, both Rosenbalm and BVU agreed they would not disclose the substance of the negotiations leading up to his departure.
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