PHILIPSBURG–Water and light company GEBE Supervisory Board of Directors Chairman Bienvenido Richardson said on Monday that there can be never be any “war” between the company’s managing directors and its supervisory board of directors, because of the two-tier system whereby the managing board manages the daily operations of the company and the supervisory board supervises the managing board of directors.
Richardson’s comment was made, on invitation from The Daily Herald, in response to statements by St. Maarten Communications Union (SMCU) President Ludson Evers about what the union referred to as the constant “war” between management and the board.
The union, which called on Government to intervene, said it appears as though the supervisory board contests and rejects every decision taken by the company’s management team, and indicated that the constant butting of heads is negatively affecting the utilities company and its employees.
In his response, Richardson said there are two layers of management within the structure and organisation of GEBE. The two-tier governing structure consists of the Managing Directors of GEBE consisting of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenrick Chittick, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Iris Arrindell and Chief Operations Officer (COO) Veronica Jansen, and the Supervisory Board of Directors which consists of seven members: Richardson, Agnes Monte; Sandy Offringa, Patrice Gumbs, Oral Gibbes, Tadzio Bervoets and Roy Marlin. Richardson was appointed Chairman in August 2017, following Marlin’s resignation as Chairman.
Richardson said the supervisory board of directors appoints a chairman who acts on behalf of the supervisory board. “The supervisory board of directors direct and give advice to the managing board of directors when it comes to the financial, social and organisational structure of the company. The managing board deals with the daily operations of the company. This includes, for instance, the salary structure and union-related affairs of the company, to name a few,” Richardson said.
“The managing board of directors has to give account/consult with the supervisory when it comes to financial expenditures above NAf. 50,000. Union-related matters are dealt with by the managing board of directors.”
Evers had said that the supervisory board and managing board were constantly at war with each other and he called this matter unfortunate. He had said at the time that one of the things affected by the clash between the managing board and supervisory board is that, six months after Hurricane Irma, GEBE still hasn’t relocated to a location to properly accommodate its many employees and thousands of clients.
The company’s main building on Walter Nisbeth Road was destroyed by Hurricane Irma, and Evers said the damaged building remains the same.
“The managing board was looking at locations to place certain offices and wanted to open cashiers’ offices elsewhere, but the internal fighting between the supervisory board and managing board is stalling everything,” Evers had said at the time.
He accused the supervisory board of “meddling” in decisions taken by the managing board, noting that “when the managing board wants to make a decision, it is not approved by the supervisory board and that’s why, since Irma, they haven’t made any moves, not even to accommodate the public in a good way – it’s just because of that internal fighting. … They have to start working together.”
When asked recently for a comment on the matter Minister with responsibility for GEBE Miklos Giterson said he could not comment on internal matters at the company at that time.