Mayor Fischer flushes Louisville’s stinking sewers [Opinion: The Arena]


Beginning last Friday, Heitzman started working with MSD’s Board, management and employees on an action plan to address the audit’s findings in a timely manner.  “I tapped Greg Heitzman for this important role because of Louisville Water Company’s stellar record and public performance. Greg can quickly implement many of the best practices –many of which are solidly in place at the Water Company – that are called for at MSD by the audit report. This is only an interim position that will last only a few months during this important transition period for MSD.”

toilet-2.gif“Louisville Water has an incredibly talented and dedicated group of employees and senior management,” said Heitzman. “In my absence, our employees will continue to deliver the outstanding water quality and customer service that has defined our company since 1854.”

Heitzman will also assist Mayor Fischer in a task force that will examine synergies between Louisville Water, MSD and Public Works. “Greg Heitzman will provide sound leadership for MSD during this significant time of change,” said Marita Willis, Board of Water Works Chair and PNC Vice President, Community Consultant and Community Banking. “The Board of Water Works appreciates the confidence the Mayor has in Greg’s leadership. In fact, we see it every day in Louisville Water’s operations.”

Heitzman has spent 29 years at Louisville Water, starting as project engineer in 1982, then serving as Chief Engineer and as President and CEO since 2007. He holds a MBA from the University of Louisville and earned a bachelor and a masters degree from the University of Kentucky in Civil Engineering.

Fischer flirt_0.gifIt appears that our new Mayor is good at avoiding the knee-jerk reactions his predecessor in office usually had in response to bad press.  Earlier this year, the local internet press began a series of investigative articles which started uncovering some serious problems with the management at MSD.  Folks like Ed Springston and Terry Boyd began poking around and uncovering scandalous information.  They were followed by the local television stations, and, eventually the Courier-Journal. 

But instead of shooting from the hip, Fischer called for a management audit; to get to the bottom of allegations of questionable spending practices and mismanagement at the agency.   “There are questions about MSD,” said Fischer, during a WFLP public radio interview, back in June. “These folks do a lot of good work every day. Let’s remove the questions.”

Crit Luallen.jpgKentucky state Auditor Crit Luallen agreed to work with MSD and the mayor’s office on developing the scope of the audit and helping in the selection of a private consulting firm to do the work.  And the report released Friday certainly seems to vindicate even MSD’s harshest critics.

But the audit report and its attendant resignations may not be the end of the problems facing the MSD gang.  In her report, Luallen added:  “Due to the nature of certain findings discussed within this report, we are referring these issues to the Louisville Metro Police Department Public Integrity Unit and to the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether further investigation by those offices are warranted.”

Schardein, Bud 3.jpgBack in the Spring of this year, Bud Schardein gave an interview to reporter Larry Muhammad, over at the C-J.  At that time, he said:  “I don't gamble large amounts of money. Probably the largest amount I'll put on any horse is 20 bucks — I'm not getting into the bread money or rent money. Bookmakers say there's a difference between a gambler and a sucker. A gambler knows what he can afford to lose, and a sucker thinks he can make a living at it.”

Well, Bud, you’ve certainly made a pretty good living the past 28 years, off the MSD ratepayers.  It remains to be seen who is the bigger sucker.


Get your own copy:  MSD Audit Report (142 Pp., .pdf)

Read McAdam’s previous article:  Louisville mayor declares war on sewer rats

Read more on MSD:  Badwater Journal


--------------'s The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).


About Thomas McAdam
At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.
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