At the BVU Authority's re-organizational meeting Tuesday morning, changes to its board and committees were made in hopes of restoring confidence in the company during a criminal investigation.
As the new chairman of the BVU Authority board, one of Ed Harlow's first goals is gaining back community trust. The former Bristol, Virginia mayor and city councilman says the authority needs to be more transparent.
"Certainly at budget time, any time there is a rate increase or anything of that nature, the public should have some input into that," Harlow says.
Over the past year, the BVUA board has been criticized for its spending habits. There is also an investigation being conducted by the Washington County Virginia Sheriff's Office since October of last year.
In response to the investigation, interim CEO Michael Bundy told News 5 the BVU has cut down on spending. "The discretionary spending that was brought to light as a problem a year ago is down 72 percent. We're saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it's all stuff we said we were going to put into place," Bundy says.
Harlow says a CEO should have been hired long ago. He also told us the board has not been fair to the public or its employees, but now it's taken on a new atmosphere.
Harlow also says the BVU is a great organization with some of the best employees he's ever seen, and he hopes changes to the board and to several committees will send a message to the community. "Trust is earned, confidence is earned, you know it doesn't just happen, respect is earned," Harlow says.
Members will meet again next week to narrow down a list of 22 applicants for CEO. Harlow hopes to have the position filled by Sept. 1.