Online petition seeks firing of CEO John Bruciak, from BPUB

Oct. 7—An online petition has been started requesting John Bruciak, CEO of Brownsville Public Utilities Board, be fired.

The petition posted Thursday reads, "Fire Bruciak Now! Crime Investigation Now!

"PUB ratepayers demand accountability and justice for the fraudulent rate-rigging by PUB management and advisors. We demand action."

The petition request that at least 100 individuals sign it. As of Thursday afternoon, 75 signatures had been received.

Helen Flores started the petition. No information on her was available.

The petition comes one day after a forensic audit on BPUB and its deal with Tenaska concludes that BPUB management contrived an electrical capacity shortage and intentionally used "outdated and overstated" load forecast data to justify its pursuit of the project.

Bruciak has served as CEO of BPUB for numerous years.

In a statement to The Brownsville Herald, BPUB stated "On Oct. 5, the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (BPUB) received the Tenaska Audit's Executive Summary Report and its supporting full forensic audit report. We take the report very seriously and are reviewing it in detail. BPUB will join the City of Brownsville's efforts in addressing the audit's findings."

The Brownsville City Commission in November 2020 requested an audit of BPUB regarding a power plant project agreement with the Nebraska-based energy company Tenaska that was announced in 2013 but ultimately died on the vine.

The audit, to be conducted by city auditor Patrick Zacchini and overseen by a three-member audit committee appointed by Mayor Trey Mendez, was to look into what became of tens of millions of dollars generated by rate increases imposed by BPUB to pay for the utility's share of the planned $500 million Tenaska Brownsville Generation Station.

The audit found that BPUB management's presentations to BPUB's board and the city of Brownsville "did not accurately reflect studies and were biased toward the Project or omitted pertinent facts. Given that the Board and City Commissioners are not energy experts, they were reliant on Management to aid their decision-making with regard to the Project."

"Further, given the interference and manipulation of the narrative, it is our opinion that Management, with the participation of (former Brownsville mayor Tony Martinez) intentionally misrepresented or omitted key information in order to ensure that the Project (and its related rate hikes) would be approved by the Board and the (city)," reads the report.

The online petition can be found at: https://www.change.org/p/fire-bruciak-now-crime-investigation-now?redirect=false

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Staff Writer Steve Clark contributed to this report.

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