NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - We are learning more about who may serve as acting executive director of the Orleans Sewerage and Water Board after an ad hoc committee nominated the current general superintendent and a board attorney who was recently featured in a FOX 8-Lee Zurik investigation.
Three days ago, New Orleans police officers were rescuing drivers from a flooded Carrollton underpass. Now, with hurricane season starting in 10 days, the troubled S&WB is looking for an acting executive director.
The committee met behind closed doors and selected two nominees to replace Marcie Edwards, who leaves tomorrow. One is Jade Russell, a board attorney who moonlighted as a Harrah's lobbyist as outlined in the Zurik investigation. The other nominee, general superintendent Bruce Adams.
The nominations have been forwarded to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who has the authority to name one as acting director, according to board spokesman Richard Rainey.
"Now the committee has made its recommendations, and it's up to the mayor to choose from the two names they recommended," said Rainey.
The acting executive director will take over an agency that has spent $80 million to make repairs over the past nine months. Though areas like the Carrollton underpass and portions of Mid City saw heavy flooding Friday evening, the board says 115 of 120 pumps were working, as were four of five power generating turbines.
It's clear that there's still work to do, and while the mayor decides who to appoint, one of the two nominees could step up in an emergency.
"Mr. Adams has signing authority. He can keep the trains running on time until we find someone to head up the organization," said Rainey.
The mayor has not indicated when she will make her selection.
We could learn more Tuesday. Cantrell has called a news conference for 10:30 a.m. to update the public on the city's responsiveness to weather events.
As for the permanent director, a search committee is now looking into candidates to present to the full board for a vote in the next couple of weeks.