LA WATCHDOG-At a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Marcie Edwards would be the next General Manager of our Department of Water and Power, replacing the trusted Ron Nichols.
Garcetti resisted the temptation to appoint a political hack. Rather, he appointed an experienced operating executive who has a strong working knowledge of the utility industry to lead the $4.5 billion DWP and its 8,800 employees that serve nearly 4,000,000 Angelenos.
This is not an easy job.
DWP’s credit rating and Ratepayers’ wallets are under pressure as the Department needs to maintain and repair its infrastructure (poles, transformers, pipelines, pumping stations) and to finance numerous unfunded environmental mandates.
Furthermore, City Hall and its cronies view DWP as its own ATM machine, tapping our wallets for over $1 billion a year with plans to increase that amount by dumping additional responsibilities on the Water and Power Systems.
The new GM will also have to put up with our meddling Elected Elite who are constantly interfering with the efficient operation of the Department operations.
And then there are the politics involving campaign funding Union Bo$$ d’Arcy who, despite his current problems with the District Attorney, the Controller, the City Attorney, and the Mayor, still has a lip lock on the Herb Wesson led City Council and the Felipe Fuentes led Energy and Environment Committee that oversees DWP.
Edwards faces numerous challenges, including whether she can transition from Anaheim, The Happiest Place on Earth, to LA, a smorgasbord of 4,000,000 souls where the City’s finances and politics are a mess.
She has will be under greater scrutiny by the well-heeled environmental lobby that want DWP to finance numerous projects such as the LA River and stormwater recapture, regardless of the impact on Ratepayers.
Fortunately, Edwards has a good working knowledge of DWP, having started at the bottom as a Clerk Typist without a college degree. Over 24 years, this “mustang” (a Navy term) rose from an enlisted grunt to an executive officer, only to be recruited away by Anaheim Utilities in 2001 to be its GM.
As an aside, Jim McDaniel, the well-respected head of the Water System, will be the interim General Manager.
David Wiggs, the Jim Hahn appointed General Manager of DWP from 2001 to 2003, has replaced Aram Benyamin as head of the Power System. However, Wiggs was the GM that signed the Joint Training Institute agreement in 2002 and was around during the Fleishman Hillard scandal that helped Villaraigosa defeat Hahn’s bid for reelection in 2005.
MAYOR GARCETTI TAPS MARCIE EDWARDS FOR GM OF THE DWP
Los Angeles - Mayor Eric Garcetti has nominated Anaheim City Manager Marcie Edwards to be the next General Manager of the Department of Water and Power. Prior to her appointment as Anaheim's City Manager, Edwards ran Anaheim Public Utilities for 13 years, delivering water and power for California's 10th largest city.
Edwards previously worked for 24 years at the DWP, starting as a Clerk Typist at the age of 19. She then became a Steam Plant Assistant, a Plant Equipment Operator, a Steam Plant Operator, a Load Dispatcher and a Senior Load Dispatcher.
She steadily worked her way up the ladder to become DWP Superintendent of Load Dispatching, Energy Control Center Manager, Manager of Bulk Power Operations/Maintenance, Bulk Power Business Unit Director, and finally Assistant General Manager for the marketing and the customer service business units.
"Marcie Edwards has the toughness and expertise necessary to take on the status quo at the DWP and deliver real, lasting change for DWP customers," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "During the mayor's race, LA voters gave me a mandate to reform the DWP, and with Marcie Edwards, we're going to make sure the DWP is more efficient, tightly managed, reliable and that costs are cut."
"I am honored by the opportunity to join Mayor Garcetti's administration and help drive the changes to this department that both he and the ratepayers are seeking," said Marcie Edwards. "In my discussions with Mayor Garcetti, he made the mission at hand abundantly clear – to run this Department like a business and leave politics at the door – and that is a mission I will gladly accept."
The DWP Commission will consider Mayor Garcetti's recommendation of Edwards at its February 4th meeting. Edwards' nomination is subject to confirmation by the City Council.
Current DWP Assistant General Manager Jim McDaniel will serve as the acting General Manager until Edwards' confirmation. Marty Adams will serve as Acting Assistant General Manager of the Water System, replacing Jim McDaniel. Former DWP General Manager David Wiggs has been appointed the Assistant General Manager of the Power System.
From the City of Anaheim Web Site
Marcie L. Edwards was appointed as the Anaheim City Manager in July 2013. This position provides administrative oversight of the 10th largest city in California, a charter city with more than 346,000 residents and a total operating budget of $1.6 billion, that provides a full spectrum of city services, including Police, Fire, Utilities, Community Services, Planning, Public Works, Community Development, and a variety of internal support Departments. Starting in 2009, Marcie did two years of "double duty" for the City of Anaheim, serving as the Utility General Manager and also as the Deputy and Assistant City Manager. Marcie had been serving as Anaheim's Interim City Manager since May of 2013.
Prior to her appointment as City Manager, Marcie was the General Manager of Anaheim's municipal water and electric utility. A 35 year veteran of the utility industry, she came to Anaheim in 2001 from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. At LADWP, she advanced from craft level positions in the 1970's, to management in the late 80's. Prior to coming to Anaheim, Marcie was an Assistant General Manager at LADWP with experience in oversight of electric operations, engineering, transmission line construction and maintenance, and overall utility customer service, as well managed a $1.3 billion budget and approximately 3,000 employees in two major Divisions.
Marcie is currently a Board Member on CleanTechOC, and a founding Board member of the Association of Women in Water and Energy. Marcie is a past Board member of the Anaheim Community Foundation, a past regional member of the National Board of the American Public Power Association, past President of the California Municipal Utilities Association, past Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Water District Board, and past President of the Southern California Public Power Authority. A past Governor on the California Independent System Operator Board, Marcie also served as interim CEO of that agency in 2004, and, in that role, assisted in avoiding statewide power outages during the Energy Crisis.
Marcie received both her Bachelors in Organizational Management, as well as her Masters in Public Administration from the University of La Verne. Check Edwards bio here.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, The Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.)
Vol 12 Issue 9
Pub: Jan 31, 2014