The Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) accepted the retirements of most of its purchasing department on Wednesday amid accusations of poor practices and kickbacks.
In addition to buying supplies, equipment and some service contracts, the BWWB purchasing department is in charge of ensuring the BWWB is efficiently spending its money.
Sources told WBRC that the BWWB voted to accept the sudden retirements of three employees, including the purchasing department manager. The BWWB will begin paying lifetime pensions to them upon retirement.
According to the WBRC report, BWWB retired the employees abruptly over uncovered improper purchasing activity and kickbacks.
This is the latest of a series of controversies surrounding the utility this year.
Last month, Birmingham Water Works customers were hit with a plethora of billing issues. Thousands of customers didn't receive bills for months, only to receive much larger or multiple bills all at once, according to media reports.
The bills were also not based on accurate meter readings but estimations based on previous months. Birmingham Water Works blamed a lack of meter readers and insufficient staffing for the issue.
According to AL.com, the BWWB hired Macaroy Underwood of Underwood Financial Consultants, LLC, to review the customer billing and collections from January 1, 2022, through July 31, 2022. Underwood was the general manager of Birmingham Water Works from 2005 to 2018.
Underwood's hiring was questioned by several members of the BWWB's finance committee due to ethical dilemmas surrounding hiring a former general manager.
1819 News reached out to Birmingham Water Works for comment about the recent accusations. Rick Jackson, the public relations manager for the Birmingham Water Works, said that the BWWB couldn't comment or disclose information related to "personnel-related matters."
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