Mayor Hahn today announced that David Wiggs, on medical leave as general manager of the DWP, has resigned. In his place Hahn has asked his DWP commissioners to appoint Ron Deaton, the longtime Chief Legislative Analyst for the city council. As the council's top adviser, and a 40-year veteran of the building, he's often described as the most powerful man in City Hall (including the mayor—any mayor).
* More: Speculation begins promptly on the political machinations behind the scenes. For Deaton, he would surely get a raise and become the highest-paid city official, enhancing his pension when he retires. Then there are the whispers that outgoing city councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, whose term ends next year, desires the CLA post. She was a longtime council staffer before her election. Finally, there is precedent for moving the Chief Legislative Analyst over to DWP. Deaton's predecessor Bill McCarley made that trip.
Hahn's letter to the president of the DWP commission follows:
The Honorable Dominick Rubalcava President, Board of Water and Power Commissioners Los Angeles Department of Water and Power 111 N. Hope Street, Suite 1555-H Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear Commissioner Rubalcava:
I received a letter of resignation from Mr. David H. Wiggs, Jr. as General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. As you know, David has been on leave from the Department while undergoing treatment for cancer. While I truly value his dedicated service to the citizens of Los Angeles, we can all appreciate and understand this decision. I have spoken to him, both to thank him for his service, and to wish him and his family the very best in health and happiness for many years to come.
I am sure you would agree with me that Henry Martinez has done an excellent job as interim general manager under these trying conditions. Henry is owed a debt of gratitude, and I know will continue to serve the department and the City well as he returns to his role as manager in charge of the power system.
With this news, I am requesting your Board immediately select a new General Manager. This is an especially important time for the City as we enter a new age of increasing community outreach and dramatically expanding renewable power resources*all while ensuring the highest possible security of our water and power resources. There are, of course, a multitude of other issues, each with unique attributes that require knowledge of past decisions and future impacts. One individual with such knowledge is the current Chief Legislative Analyst, Mr. Ronald F. Deaton, and I respectfully request that he be considered for this position.
I have known Ron for many years and can speak admirably of his contributions to the City of Los Angeles. He would be a tremendous asset to DWP as its General Manager.
Ron has faithfully served the City for some 40 years and is widely acknowledged as an integral reason for our success in reliably meeting the City's water and power needs today. His expertise and extensive experience in overseeing government, legislative, and public affairs work for the City of Los Angeles would provide to DWP the leadership that the Department currently needs.
I have spoken to Ron and am assured that he shares our concerns and vision for the Department. He agrees with me that a change in the corporate culture is desperately needed. He recognizes that LADWP needs a new management team, willing to make the changes necessary to improve the reputation of this Department, including fixing the contracting process and improving the corporate communications and public affairs function to include neighborhood council outreach.
Ron also shares my concerns about the environmental impacts that result from the Department's operations. He is firmly committed to our goal of reaching a 20% Renewable Portfolio Standard, and will provide the leadership to succeed in that commitment. Additionally, Ron has committed to me that he will work with us on a solution that will permanently protect our lands in the Owens Valley from development.
We all know of Ron's commitment to the success of LADWP, and his even deeper dedication to the City of Los Angeles. Because he began his career at LADWP and has a long record of support for the Department, Ron is perhaps one of the only people who can successfully bring the Department into the City family.
As I look at the Department of Water and Power and its challenges, I believe that Ron Deaton is highly qualified for the position of General Manager. I appreciate your thoughtful consideration of my recommendation.
Very truly yours,
JAMES K. HAHN