WAPA Board Reorganizes, Removing Internal Revenue Director, in Compliance with Prevailing Law
The Governing Board of the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) has removed Bureau of Internal Revenue Director Joel Lee from its membership, following a recent court ruling validating a law that restructured the Board. WAPA has announced that it is now in compliance with the legislation.
According to the Board, “After thorough legal review, the Governing Board and legal counsel confirm that the Governing Board structure is legally compliant after reflecting the removal of Joel Lee.” The Authority will proceed with its monthly Regular Governing Board meeting as scheduled and continue efforts to improve essential services for the people of the Virgin Islands.
The law, sponsored by former senator Janelle Sauraw, aimed to enhance oversight of the struggling utility company by filling the board with experts in relevant industries. It reduced the board’s size from nine to seven members. The two eliminated board positions were previously held by members of the governor’s cabinet, leaving only one member of the executive branch on WAPA’s Governing Board.
Governor Albert Bryan Jr. vetoed the law when it passed in 2020, arguing that the changes unduly infringed on his ability to wield executive power. However, when the Senate overrode the veto, he took the matter to court in the following year. The courts disagreed with the governor, clearing the way for the changes to WAPA’s Governing Board to be implemented.