New Brunswick Demotes Its Water Utility Director Following Inappropriate Remarks
By: Dan Kilkenny
New Brunswick demoted its Water Utility Director on March 27, the second time in less than a year that the utility has undergone a change in leadership.
Alexei Walus was demoted to Water Treatment Plant Supervisor following an incident where he used derogatory and inappropriate language. Mayor Jim Cahill will serve as Acting Director of the New Brunswick Water Utility as he City seeks a new candidate to fill the position.
City spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw could not release information about the nature of what was said. “The demotion is what was considered to be appropriate by the Mayor for this instance,” she said.
Walus’ previous salary of $105,000 now stands at $95,000 following the demotion. This incident comes just four months after Walus was hired for the position in November after the previous director, Frank Marascia, and Plant Supervisor, Keith Smith, were both fired last July following allegations of falsifying water quality reports. Marascia and Smith allegedly fudged reports with the state Department of Environmental Protection concerning the City’s water quality following damage to the utility caused by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012.
In response to their resignations, New Brunswick Water Utility reached a deal with American Water in September 2014 to provide licensed water treatment operators and management staff to oversee the city’s water treatment utility and supervise the city’s current water treatment personnel. The contract totaled $867,880 paid in monthly increments, and will end in late September.
This will be the second time in the last 365 days that Mayor Cahill has served as Acting Director of Water Utility. “He was able to adequately serve the position last time and feels confident he will be able to do so again,” Bradshaw commented. She went on to say that the City has already begun the process of finding a new candidate for the position.