By Cheril Vernon
Messenger Copy Editor
HOUSTON COUNTY – After five tumultuous months of demanding answers to questions about management practices at Consolidated Water Supply Corporation, the CWSC board voted 4-3 during a Tuesday meeting to terminate CWSC General Manager Sherry Reed, according to a source.
The problems started to surface during a November 2016 meeting where shareholders levied accusations of nepotism, excessive overtime pay, questionable practices in funding of the CWSC retirement plan and general mismanagement of the corporation at the feet of Reed.
Local businessman Kevin Holbrook addressed the board on nepotism and overtime at the November meeting.
“…Four of the top six employees were members of the Reed family (related to CWSC General Manger Sherry Reed),” Holbrook said. “In 2014, we paid a total of $145, 958.21 of overtime. In 2015, we bumped that up to $202,610.58. In 2016, we have already topped what we did in all of 2014 and we were in the middle of September with $164,253.74.”
Holbrook cited several examples using specific employees, sans names, related to Reed and noted during 2014, one employee related to Reed had a base salary of $42,532.40 and accrued overtime pay in the amount of $30,751.85. Another employee received a base salary of $36,175.78 and received an additional $29,528.90 in OT during 2015.
At the November meeting, Reed responded to the questions related to overtime.
“Most of the overtime comes from the plant men and I’m sorry those plant men happen to be related to me. They weren’t hired by me – well, one of them was – but the one that is most complained about wasn’t hired by me,” Reed said during the November meeting.
She said the plant men drove over 300 miles a day and worked seven days a week, but stressed the corporation was having trouble finding qualified applicants.
In January of this year, shareholders endured a four-hour meeting where the board attempted to address concerns. The majority of the questions which had gone unanswered as of January pertained to the CWSC retirement plan. After more than two hours in executive session, the board emerged from behind closed doors and authorized the attorney to read a letter to the shareholders in an attempt to answer some of the questions asked.
Check online at messenger-news.com or Sunday’s edition for further details and updates.