The CEO of the Utilities District of Western Indiana has been fired.
The electric co-op fired Brian Sparks Friday citing failure to live up to management expectations. A statement on the co-op’s website says the search for a new CEO will begin immediately.
Sparks has been on paid leave since May. The board said it was necessary to remove Sparks at that time so they could perform an internal audit of the co-op’s finances without worrying about Sparks influencing the process. That audit has not yet been released, but the UDWI statement says the findings did not reveal any specific problems with members’ accounts or bills.
As we’ve reported, there have been claims of money mismanagement during Sparks’ tenure.
A new board and interim management have been working to restore confidence among the co-op’s members. They’ve made it easier for ratepayers to attend co-op board meetings, they’ve changed who can write checks for the co-op and they’re reviewing the co-op’s charitable giving policy.
In addition to the audit, the FBI is also conducting an investigation at UDWI.
UDWI serves about 19,000 customers in the central and western part of the state including large swaths of Greene, Monroe, Lawrence, Owen and Clay counties.