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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


Rumors that the V.I. Water and Power Authority’s top manager on St. Croix, Gregory Willocks, has been fired are just that – rumors.
Carol Burke, chairwoman of the WAPA board, set the record straight on Friday, saying that Willocks was on vacation and had not been axed.
"He’s not been fired or dismissed," Burke said. "He’ll be returning."
The questions surrounding the status of Willocks’ employment stem from a short job walkout staged by WAPA employees on St. Croix on June 9. They were protesting poor working conditions and inadequate training at the Estate Richmond power plant.
In addition, the workers complained of Willocks’ management style, saying it was affecting morale. Willocks, assistant executive director, oversees St. Croix operations for the public utility.
A day after the walkout, representatives of the workers met with WAPA board members and upper management to air their grievances, most of which were directed at Willocks. Burke said the safety concerns and lost production during the walkout spurred the board to get involved in the dispute.
"Some of the issues hadn’t been adequately addressed by management," Burke said. "Nonetheless, we’ll be involving management when responding to the issues."
As for the complaints against Willocks, Burke said the board would consult with WAPA’s executive director, Raymond George, who is currently out on medical leave, before taking any action.
"Whatever action the board takes will be based on the recommendation of the executive director," she said. "The safety issues are a priority for the board. I am confident they can be addressed in short order."
Burke said that as far as she is aware, the concerns raised by the St. Croix workers pertain only to that island and have not been raised by their colleagues on St. Thomas or St. John. She said she had been aware of a morale problem on St. Croix for some time, having received numerous complaints.
Burke said the walkout had nothing to do with WAPA's proposed joint venture with Southern Energy.

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