Atlantic City MUA chair overstepped his authority, letters claim

Atlantic City MUA chair overstepped his authority letters claim

The chairman of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority interfered with daily operations and the awarding of contracts in an attempt to advance his own agenda, according to letters by the current and former directors.

A special City Council meeting set for Friday looks to remove John Devlin from his position on the board.

The meeting was called by Mayor Marty Small, who is the only one with the authority to do so. But BreakingAC has learned that it was letters by current Executive Director Michael Armstrong and his predecessor, Bruce Ward, that led to the move.

“Before and immediately after I assumed the position as ED, Chairman Devlin went beyond the scope of his role as Board member and Chairman,” Armstrong wrote in a Dec. 27 letter to Jacquelyn Suarez, director of the Division of Local Government Services.

“Thereafter, I found the Chairman’s conduct to be obstructing, unprofessional, overbearing and harassing in nature,” he wrote in the eight-page letter obtained by BreakingAC.

Armstrong also alleges that “according to several employees, there have been multiple incidents involving the Chairman giving staff directives and intimidating staff members before my tenure.”

Ward backs up these allegations in a letter he also sent Suarez.

But Devlin says these claims are not about his relationship with the MUA’s staff, but his rivalry with the mayor.

“All supposed allegations are frivolous and politically motivated,” he told BreakingAC.

As a city Board of Education member, Devlin was a vocal proponent of an investigation into the cousin of Small’s wife, Dr. La’Quetta Small. Ka’yan Frazier is in federal prison on a child pornography conviction involving a student at Pennsylvania Avenue School when he was a substitute teacher and Dr. Small was principal.

La’Quetta Small is now schools superintendent. Ward was on the committee that chose her.

The resolution to unseat Devlin will be voted on at Friday’s meeting, set via Zoom for 5 p.m. It makes several claims and mentions that the allegations were laid out in the letters.