SAN ANTONIO - CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby says he has reimbursed $5,000 for expensive meals paid for by ratepayers.
“I have reimbursed $5,000 back to the company so that at least the areas I have made, or the expenditures that would seem unreasonable, the public's made whole,” said Beneby at Monday’s board meeting.
“It's not a cliché. A leaders held to a higher standard so that's the spirit and context in which I did it,” said Beneby.
The refund comes after I uncovered two years worth of receipts showing extravagant spending on meals by Beneby and others at the municipally owned utility.
The board announced it will end the purchase of alcohol for events attended only by employees and board members, retirement parties for board members and require receipts for meal expenditures to be reimbursed.
During my investigation I uncovered a farewell party for a board member costing $7,000. The bar tab was more than $2,000.
Mayor Julian Castro pushed CPS Energy to begin coming up with policies to end these kinds of expenses. “What ratepayers can expect is that there will be changes made as to how expenses are handled at CPS. In the best interest of the ratepayers,” said Castro.
The board also announced it will review policies for travel, procurement and hiring. It may just be a coincidence, but the announcement comes after I requested records relating to those same areas based on tips I’ve gotten in recent weeks. The records have not yet been released.
I asked the board chairman if more is embarrassing information may come out soon.
“What we're doing right now is we're moving forward. I have no idea what you may or may not find, said board chairman Derrick Howard. “But the role of the board is to obviously set policy. So what we're going to do is put a policy in place that actively that puts a business management relationship to this company which is consistent and prudent with what the community expects us to do.”