The Sanitary Sewer
Commission Committee is meeting in executive session this morning to discuss personnel matters — almost certainly what consequence Little Rock Wastewater Utility CEO Reggie Corbitt should face for setting up providing a rent-free trailer, on utility property, to a trailer owned by operations manager Stan Miller on utility property. Corbitt has already said he will retire at the end of 2014.
Miller earns $149,323.20 a year at the utility, public records published by the Democrat-Gazette show. You’d think he could afford to house himself and his girlfriend, who apparently lives with him on utility property. Democrat-Gazette reporter Claudia Lauer, who you do not want on your trail if you are up to no good, reported on the trailer set-up in Monday’s paper.
City Director Lance Hines, who is the board liaison to the Sanitary Sewer
Commission Committee, said this morning he has “serious questions over the leadership” of LRWU, and will file a resolution today for the board’s agenda meeting at 4 p.m. calling for a confidence vote. He said the utility’s explanation of why Miller was set up at the treatment plant — that it was for security reasons — didn’t make sense, in the face of facts that there are other treatment plants with no such security in place. The treatment plant is not open to the public, though the LRWU community relations manager John Jarratt confirmed that Miller’s girlfriend had access.
If the sewer committee decides to fire Corbitt, Hines won’t need to file the resolution. If it does not, Hines said he’s leaning toward a no confidence vote, which would take place a week from today.
There are those on the City Board — Director Brad Cazort for one — who believe the city should take over the wastewater utility, which for years has seen flare-ups of questionable actions by Corbitt — including fancy furnishings of the utility, the hiring of friends, taking freebies for his family, management that lead to a lawsuit by the Sierra Club, and more. Hines is not one of them. He believes the Sanitary Sewer Commission should require the utility to run any expenditure over $10,000 by them — which would have caught the $11,592 expense in labor and parts to move the trailer to the Fourche Creek Treatment Facility reported by the D-G. He said that City Manager Bruce Moore, though he is not required to ask for permission to expenditures under $50,000, never spends more than $10,000 on an item without the board’s knowledge.
Hines said hiring an interim director and directing the Sanitary Sewer
Commission Committee to require more disclosure is the route he prefers. Also on the commission agenda today, Hines said, is a meeting with candidates that responded to the commission’s request for qualifications for an executive search team to hire Corbitt’s replacement.
Cazort was unavailable for comment. Director Joan Adcock, who has been critical of the LRWU, said the trailer incident is just one of many concerns she has about the utility and the committee, which she said has power it won’t use.
UPDATE: Corbitt and Miller both have been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of the trailer spending by the Sanitary Sewer Committee.
I haven’t been able to find out yet if they will be paid while on leave. They will be paid while on leave, but all keys and access have been revoked. Hines says he will withhold his resolution until the committee’s investigation is finished.