TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

PWSA management company earns performance bonuses

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Rob Nicholas (from left), vice president of development for Veolia Water North America, joins Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Chairman Dan Deasy and interim Executive Director Jim Good in the pipe gallery of the Aspinwall PWSA facility.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Related .pdfs
Can't view the attachment? Then download the latest version of the free, Adobe Acrobat reader here:

Get Adobe Reader

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, April 5, 2013, 2:03 p.m.
 

A private firm hired last year to run the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority earned some “early wins” that led to a $1.3 million uptick in revenue for the authority and unlocked incentive bonuses for the management firm, officials said on Friday.

“It's really important when you're trying to reorient an organization to have early wins because they build momentum,” Rob Nicholas, vice president of development, said during a meeting with reporters. “We think that's really been accomplished in the first nine months.”

PWSA hired Chicago-based Veolia Water in July at a rate of $150,572 a month, or about $1.8 million a year. The authority had gone about two years without an executive director after Michael Kenney resigned amid a scandal over a water line insurance program that forced customers to participate and pay a fee.

Bringing in a management firm with no political ties to Pittsburgh is part of a larger effort to restore confidence and trust in the authority, said state Rep. Dan Deasy, D-Westwood, chairman of PWSA's seven-member board.

Jim Good, the interim executive director, said customer service call center wait times were halved — from an average of eight minutes to four minutes — and the authority avoided laying off employees from its 270-member workforce, as some unionized employees feared.

Rates did not increase this year, Deasy said.

Nicholas said Veolia worked to change the culture of the authority by inviting employees to share ideas to improve efficiency with Good and other executives over pizza at lunchtime or at a company cookout.

Some employees voiced concerns about Veolia's takeover.

The Pittsburgh Joint Collective Bargaining Committee, a labor union group that represents about 125 PWSA employees, in February rejected contract offers. A representative of the group did not return a call Friday.

Roughly $1 million more in annual revenue came from persuading a new customer in the food processing industry to stop using water wells it drilled and use PWSA's system instead, Good said. He declined to identify the customer, citing a confidentiality agreement, but said the customer will be online Monday.

The authority also generated revenue by enforcing an overlooked fire hydrant line fee on about 1,000 high-capacity commercial and industrial users that have large fire protection systems in their buildings.

Veolia can earn up to $1.5 million in bonuses and 50 percent of any money it saves the authority, according to its contract.

The company said it earned bonuses worth a few hundred thousand dollars. It could not immediately specify the amount but offered to provide figures soon.

PWSA has the option to extend its contract with Veolia by six months in July. Deasy said he would vote to do so.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. 4 ejections, benches-clearing scrum mark Pirates’ win over Reds
  2. Zimbabwe alleges Murrysville doctor illegally killed lion
  3. Pirates notebook: Burnett says ‘surgery is not an option’
  4. Steelers’ Harrison awaits go-ahead from Tomlin before practicing
  5. Steelers notebook: WR Bryant sidelined after minor procedure on right elbow
  6. Slot cornerback Boykin should give Steelers options in secondary
  7. Inside the Steelers: Roethlisberger strong in goal-line drills
  8. Inaugural Geibel STEM camp gives pupils interactive, fun science experience
  9. McKeesport prepares for Relay For Life
  10. Lawrence power plant being converted to gas from coal
  11. New traffic lights to be installed near McKeesport’s Jerome Bridge