Candidate of NHC Commission's Facebook page asks voters not to support CFPUA board candidates

Candidate of NHC Commission's Facebook page asks voters not to support CFPUA board candidates
As the primary elections get closer, the campaigns are starting to get tougher. One candidate has gone on the attack, creating a Facebook page that tells voters not to support three others who serve on the same board. 
The Facebook page is called "Stop the CFPUA 3." We now know it was created last week by Republican County Commission candidate Derrick Hickey.
Hickey says a big reason he's running this year is because fellow candidates Pat Kusek, Jim Brumit and current Commissioner Woody White are all running as a team and are all members of the Cape Fear Public Utility Board. Kusek is the board's chair, Brumit is the Vice Chair and White is the commissioner representative.
Hickey says the board and these three candidates need to be held accountable. Below is a statement he sent WECT regarding the Facebook page and website, which is linked to the page:
"I had not planned on filing for office this election season. I filed for office on the last day, in the last hour. A compelling reason for me to file for office was that three of the Republican candidates who had filed were running as a team, and each were leadership members of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Board (CFPUA). What was particularly disturbing was hearing these three candidates: Kusek, White and Brumit, claiming that they would serve the county well, followed by a long list of things they would do to make the lives of New Hanover County residents better. There was no mention that they were currently serving the people of New Hanover County on the CFPUA board. Nearly every resident of New Hanover County has been touched in some way by the CFPUA and its policies. One does not have to look too hard to find news stories or other media that voice the public upset with this entity.

Our campaign set up the CFPUA.NET website to inform people of the records of these three candidates. We received numerous calls and emails from people who had complaints and issues with the CFPUA in the days following the website launch. These callers were upset that Kusek, White, and Brumit were not forthcoming regarding their leadership positions with the CFPUA. They also wanted a chance to voice their complaints and share their stories and personal experiences. It became clear to us that people needed an outlet to voice their concerns. We set up the page Stop the CFPUA 3 Facebook page to allow them to do so and to ensure that these candidates’ records are clear. It is not a site to support any particular campaign, but rather to discuss and share the effects of the policies of the CFPUA under the leadership of Kusek, White, and Brumit. The site is moderated to discourage any partisan commentary. The issues that people have with the CFPUA Board are not partisan. Everyone: independents, Democrats, and Republicans alike have felt the impacts of the decisions of this board.

These three CFPUA Board members have not done well by the people of New Hanover County. We have seen our water and sewer rates increase year after year, with projected increases going forward through 2020. We’ve experienced customer unfriendly policies with regard to estimated bills that aren’t obviously identifiable, late fees assessed on bill postmarked by the due date, and forced connections paired with astronomical fees. Terminating service is a very difficult task, which involves navigating a series of hoops and hurdles that making disconnecting service very difficult. It is common sense that policies such as these would lead to public animosity toward the CFPUA. But instead of reconsidering these policies, the CFPUA Board instead recently allocated over $100,000 to erect Plexiglas enclosures and hire security for protection of its offices. While we all want employees to be safe, it is the policies of this Authority that are making people upset. Employees of the CFPUA are left in the difficult position of enforcing and defending the indefensible policies put in place by the CFPUA Board. And as is clear on the Stop CFPUA 3 Facebook page, customers are very upset.

Patricia Kusek, Woody White, and Jim Brumit are now asking people to vote for them as a team. They are touting themselves as fiscal conservatives who will look out for New Hanover County. What they fail to mention is their many years of service they have already provided to New Hanover County residents on the CFPUA Board, and the decisions they made for the county on that board."

WECT spoke with fellow candidate Pat Kusek. The following is her full statement in reaction to "Stop the CFPUA 3":

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - "It's reckless and irresponsible for Derrick Hickey and others to attempt to denigrate the successes of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.

The city and county finally acknowledged that a single public utility authority would provide a better system of delivery and quality for its citizens.

Just what is it that Derrick Hickey wants to do if elected? Turn CFPUA back over to the government to run? Go backwards? More big government?

It's obvious that Derrick is only playing on peoples fears and mistrust to seek political advantage, without offering solutions. His attacks are filled with errors and innuendo.

Perhaps he doesn't't remember the moratorium placed on new development in NHC because of the failing condition of the sewer system? That moratorium stopped anyone from building a new house or business in our region, essentially halting all economic development. In the years that CFPUA has been in operation, we have cut spills by nearly 50% and the amount of waste water spilled by more than 77%.

I am amazed by all the sudden concern on Derrick's part regarding the CFPUA. I have served on the board of CFPUA for 5 years, and I have NEVER seen him attend any of our meetings, public workshops or hearings…Our meetings are open to the public, and the business we conduct is fully transparent ,yet he has never made a public comment.

In my five years I have attended over 300 CFPUA meetings and have never seen Derrick. NEVER, NOT ONCE."

Hickey tells WECT he watches all CFPUA meetings streaming online.

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