L.A.'s highest-paid official exits

Ron Deaton made it official that he won't be returning to the top job at the Department of Water and Power. He either resigned (Times) or retired (Daily News) — Deaton's official letter calls it retirement. David Zahniser reports in the Times that just before Deaton's letter was released, Mayor Villaraigosa's Board of Water and Power Commissioners "voted behind closed doors to offer Deaton a $267,000 separation package, according to a source familiar with the agreement." The DN's Kerry Cavanaugh also has the severance deal. Rather than look nationally for a proven utility executive to run the DWP, there are signs that the mayor may appoint lawyer David Nahai, who recently resigned from the DWP's unpaid governing commission to seek the job. Deaton, 64, has worked in city jobs for 42 years. He has been on leave as general manager of the DWP since July, when he suffered a serious cardiac arrhythmia while in Costa Rica. LAT, DN, LABJ

After the jump: Statements from Mayor Villaraigosa and Council President Eric Garcetti.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

On behalf of the entire City, I want to thank Ron Deaton for dedicating a brilliant 42-year career to Los Angeles.

From his first day on the job at the age of 22, this is a man who literally did it all for Angelenos. He kept the lights on through fires and blackouts. He balanced the books. He helped build parks, police stations and libraries. He kept us united as one city.

More than that, Ron always embodied the idea that public service is the highest calling.

We wish Ron and his family the greatest happiness as they begin an exciting new phase in their lives.

Council President Eric Garcetti:

For more than forty years, Ron Deaton served the people of Los Angeles with great commitment and unwavering loyalty. As the Chief Legislative Analyst, he provided generations of City Councilmembers with top level analysis and advice on the city's most pressing policy issues. It is fitting that he is retiring from Department of Water and Power, the department where he began his career with the City so many years ago. We all wish him a complete and speedy recovery. He will be truly missed.

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