Pittsburgh, Pa –The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) Board of Directors today voted to extend the PWSA-Veolia partnership 18 months through December 31, 2014. The new agreement carries forward the momentum established during the original one year agreement signed in July 2012. Since then, operational improvements and revenue enhancements have resulted in an approved budget with no rate increase for 2013, and other improvements which have enhanced customers’ interaction with the Authority.
As part of the management services agreement, Jim Good, Veolia’s West Region Executive Vice President served as PWSA’s Interim Executive Director for the past year and will continue leading PWSA in that role.
“Veolia Water has done an excellent job working with PWSA staff to provide them the training that they need and I think we have all learned a great deal from this partnership,” said Dan Deasy, PWSA Chairman. “Over the past year we have made many strides. The Board challenged Veolia to find new sources of revenue and pass the 2013 budget with no layoffs and no rate increase. They not only met our challenges, but far exceeded our expectations. Our employees and customers benefit from these improvements.”
The new contract mirrors the original agreement, with Good providing day-to-day management of the utility and additional Veolia staff sharing industry best practices and mentoring for PWSA employees. As PWSA staff becomes more comfortable implementing new methods and procedures, the need for day-to-day Veolia management will decrease.
As part of the agreement to extend the contract term, Veolia will see an immediate reduction of 10% in its monthly fee of $150,000, with a further 7% reduction scheduled to occur in 2014 as certain senior management positions at PWSA are filled on a permanent basis. Veolia’s share of any identified and implemented cost savings under the new contract has also been reduced from 50% to 40% with the difference intended to be earmarked for employee development initiatives such as training and safety.
“The PWSA Board wants our employees to receive continuous training to ensure their safety and high performance” Deasy added. “Our intention is to give them the tools they need to eventually resume direct management of the Authority, while continuing to build on the momentum towards cultural change started under Veolia’s leadership.”
The Veolia management team will continue reporting to a Steering Committee comprised of three PWSA Board members and two senior Veolia managers. The group meets monthly and reviews Key Performance Indicators (KPI) agreed upon by the PWSA Board and Veolia Management. The Steering Committee will establish four new KPI’s under the 2013 contract.
“Improvements in service are at least as important as efficiency in operations, but they aren’t always easy to measure in dollars. KPI’s are a way to ensure Veolia also focuses on critical but less tangible goals such as customer service and safety, for example,” said Jim Good, Interim Executive Director. “This has been the most challenging and most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I thoroughly enjoy working with the Board and the staff at PWSA. The entire Veolia team and I look forward to partnering with them to ensure the progress we’ve jointly made to transform the Authority into the best water and sewer system in Pennsylvania continues under the new contract.”