Moreno releases statement about S&WB employees who ‘bailed’ after power failure

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NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans City Councilmember Helena Moreno is speaking out against revelations that two key Sewerage & Water Board employees had abandoned their posts during a recent power outage that led to a boil water advisory.

During a City Council meeting this morning, S&WB officials outlined the series of events that led to the November 17 boil water advisory.

Moreno expressed outrage after S&WB officials revealed “at least two mission-critical employees ‘bailed’ during the water boil crisis.”

“That can never happen,” Moreno said. “Individuals working in this capacity can never abandon their post or fail to perform because the consequences are too great. If they do, they should face the most severe consequences available. Unsafe drinking water can sicken whole communities, and it especially impacts our most vulnerable citizens. We must remember that S&WB performs a critical public safety function and we must ensure that no person or protocol becomes the ‘weakest link’ that leads to system failure. The failure of two individuals to perform their duty exacerbated this situation unnecessarily. We need to hold S&WB accountable for the great responsibility they bear.”

The lack of cooperation between Entergy New Orleans and the S&WB, the largest consumer of energy in Orleans Parish, greatly contributed to the crisis, Moreno said.

“ENO’s lack of immediate notification of S&WB of a system problem is hard to believe,” she said “It seems obvious that ENO and S&WB must have constant and high-level linkage to ensure that among utilities, the right hand always knows what the left hand is doing. Going forward, we expect nothing less.”

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