EXCLUSIVE: On Your Side Investigators spark policy change at Cleveland Water Department

Posted at 6:27 AM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 13:21:42-04

The On Your Side Investigators sat in on a recent Cleveland Water Review Board hearing, and what they recorded is now prompting changes for that board.

"My name is Andy Krawczyk," was caught on our camera as we were we were setting up.

"I'm Michelle Bowens...Liz Maldonado," continued the board members during introductions. They all did not include any professional titles or their employer.

Drowning in Dysfunction: For more than a year, the On Your Side Investigators have told you about problems within the Cleveland Water Department. See our continuing coverage here.

The reason for the hearing was that Cleveland Water customer Amanda Haws wanted to challenge her meter readings. At one point, Haws questioned the board members who call themselves objective.

"Do you all work for the water department?” she asked.

“No," said Krawczyk.

So, that's technically correct: They don't all work for the water department, but we have to point out that Krawchzyk is an engineer with Cleveland Water. 

Another member is Liz Maldonado, who is the Special Projects Director for Cleveland Water. And finally, Michelle Bowens is a manager with the Department of Public Utilities which oversees Cleveland Water.

Haws continued her questions. “You don't (work for Cleveland Water)? Are you employed?”

“We're an independent board,” said Krawczyk. “We have nothing to do with customer service. We have nothing to do with accounts. We are otherwise the board."

As Krawczyk said that, the other two women did not correct him.

Haws had more questions: 

“Part of Public Utilities? I just want to make sure I'm getting a fair hearing here.”

Finally, Krawczyk said, “I'm an engineer… (pause) with the water department."

Deja vu?

It's all similar to a situation we caught on camera for a report that aired last October. Andrew Krawczyk initially refused to say what department he works for.

"The board is the three of us,” he said at the time.

“Can I ask where you three work?” asked the water customer in that hearing.

“I...I don't know if that's relevant," said Krawczyk.

"Do the three of you work for the Cleveland Water Company?” continued the customer.

“I don't want to answer that question,” Krawczyk responded.

“Andy, it’s a public record,” said a Cleveland Water representative.

“Is it?” questioned Krawczyk. “I work for the water department,” he finally admitted. Then the other two board members said they work the Department of Public Utilities.

The On Your Side Investigators contacted the water department and got results. A representative told us they don't want to mislead anyone, Krawczyk probably didn’t hear the question correctly and he was focused on emphasizing the board’s background.

After our Investigators’ suggestion, the Cleveland Water Department will now require the Water Review Board members to identify themselves and their employer during introductions.

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