Kupfer Out as WAPA CEO; Interim Replacement Chosen But Not Named

WAPA CEO Lawrence Kupfer testifies Thursday before the Senate Committee on Infrastructure and Housing. (Photo by Barry Leerdam for the V.I. Legislature)
WAPA Executive Director Lawrence Kupfer (File photo by Barry Leerdam, V.I. Legislature)

Lawrence Kupfer, chief executive officer and executive director of the V.I. Water and Power Authority, has not renewed his contract and will leave his position on Wednesday, the utility announced Friday after an emergency executive session.

Kupfer has been with WAPA since March 1, 2018.

According to WAPA’s director of corporate communications Jean Greaux Jr., at the end of the governing board meeting, secretary Juanita Young reported that the board “discussed personnel issues and made a selection of an interim executive director/chief executive officer. A news release on that selection will be forthcoming.”

Greaux said that as of Saturday, “There has been no announcement from WAPA regarding the person selected to serve as interim ED/CEO when director Kupfer’s term expires on March 10.”

In a March 1 news briefing, Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. briefly commented on the changes that are occurring within the authority.

“The board has had the opportunity to give the public what it wants. They want to see new leadership at WAPA. We recently had the resignation of the legal counsel, the chief financial officer has also resigned, Mr. Kupfer is not going back there. We are going to see a whole other leadership team emerge at WAPA,” the governor said. “We definitely agree with the public from a stance that they want to see some real things happen at WAPA and push the organization forward.”

Bryan also warned the public that filling the positions will not come cheap.

“My continued concern is it is very hard to find talent, and very pricey to find talent,” he said. “As we look forward to new leadership coming on, I hope the public is going to be as supportive of new kinds of resources as far as the salary that it takes to attract and retain some of the talent we are going to need to take WAPA out of its physical woes and its power generation woes.”