BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The CEO and general manager of the Brownsville Public Utilities Board announced Wednesday that he would retire, according to multiple sources.

“At tonight’s PUB meeting, the board announced that CEO John Bruciak will be retiring,” stated Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez, an ex-officio member of the utility’s Board of Directors. “Additional details will be forthcoming next week.”

BPUB Lead Communications and Public Relations Coordinator Cleiri Quezada confirmed to ValleyCentral the announcement of Bruciak’s retirement Wednesday night. Likewise, she provided no further details, which she said would be made known in the coming week.

The announcements did not detail an effective date of his retirement.

“I would like to thank Mr. Bruciak for his 40+ years of service to our public utility,” Mendez stated on social media after announcing Bruciak’s retirement.

The retirement decision was made public Wednesday night as the BPUB Board of Directors met for a special meeting, in which the CEO’s employment was listed as an agenda item to be discussed in closed executive session: “Deliberations regarding the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal of the CEO of the Brownsville Public Utilities Board.”

In October 2022, the Brownsville Public Utilities Board voted unanimously to place Bruciak on administrative leave with pay for 60 days, following the release of a city-sponsored forensic audit of the utility’s failed $118 million power plant project.

Jaime Estrada was tasked to take over as interim CEO.

Brownsville residents who attended the October meeting were not satisfied with the board’s decision to place its CEO on paid leave.

“What came out of executive session was a slap in every, every citizen of Brownsville’s face. It’s a slap in the face to suspend someone with 60 days — with pay,” Brownsville resident Ezequel Silva told ValleyCentral reporter Derick Garcia after the decision. “When people don’t even have the money to pay the bills. I mean, there’s not even words for it.”

As previously reported by ValleyCentral, Brownsville city commissioners released the forensic audit review Oct. 5, detailing how the utility board in 2011 raised customers’ electric rates to fund a plan to develop and operate an electric-generating facility, through a deal presented as being a partnership between BPUB and Tenaska, a Nebraska-based energy company.