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WAPA BOARD GETS COMPUTERS FOR HOME WORK

Jan. 29, 2002 – Water and Power Authority Board members are getting home computers courtesy of the utility company, and this is not sitting very well with at least one WAPA employee.
At the authority's Jan. 17 board meeting, Joseph Thomas, WAPA executive director, announced that, in order to facilitate the board's work, the members would be getting computers with Internet service for use at home.
Hillary JeanBaptiste, production and power plant technician and chief shop steward for WAPA's technical employees union, contacted the Source about the matter. JeanBaptiste said, "WAPA is short of computers. Some people on St. Croix have to almost fight for computer time. The professional engineers are suffering the most." He added, "It's a little sad, the arrogance of giving the board members computers when the employees need them."
Thomas said Tuesday that isn't the case. He said WAPA recently took advantage of a large computer company's sale. "We are not keeping the computers away from the employees; we are filling all the needs of the authority," he said. "We have a large inventory remaining."
Replacing computers is part of WAPA's 2002 strategic plan, a planning process initiated by the board last December.
As for why he wanted the board to have home computers, Thomas said: "Our strategy in equipping the board members is to provide better communication of board materials so the members can be familiar with the issues before board meetings. When it's time to send out notices, we can do it electronically." Further, he said, WAPA is not giving the computers away to the board members; they "are still the property of the authority."
John Christian, WAPA director of system planning, said his office had been short of computers but the situation has improved. "We have computers on St. Thomas, and we are expecting some on St. Croix now," he said.

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