Marcie Edwards, Mayor Eric Garcetti's choice to become general manager of the Department of Water and Power, worked at the utility for 24 years before taking a senior job in Anaheim. Most recently she has been the Anaheim city manager. Also on Thursday, the LA Times says, the DWP placed Senior Assistant General Manager Aram Benyamin on administrative leave. Benyamin was in charge of the utility’s power system and considered an ally of union leader Brian D’Arcy. Benyamin has served as a trustee of the two nonprofit training and safety institutes that have been resisting efforts by DWP commissioners and City Controller Ron Galperin to find out what happened to millions of dollars in public money.
Here's what Garcetti says about Edwards:
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 Manger, 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.
City Councilman Felipe Fuentes, chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, was guarded in a statement.
Having worked at DWP and run a public utility, Marcie Edwards would bring considerable experience and an important perspective to the general manager position. I am eager to learn more about her background, and I look forward to hearing her vision for the utility. I hope she can bring stability to DWP and a renewed focus on tackling its most pressing concerns, including replacing aging infrastructure, improving its relationship with customers, and restoring public confidence in the utility.
Plus this from Controller Ron Galperin:
I want to congratulate Ms. Edwards and welcome her back to our City to lead the DWP. The utility is at a crossroads, and I look forward to working with Ms. Edwards, the DWP Board of Commissioners, the Mayor and other City leaders to build a more transparent, accountable and efficient DWP.
Our audit of the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute is ongoing, and soon we will be commencing our Industrial, Economic and Administrative comprehensive review of the Department. Ms. Edwards’ leadership will be vital to achieving much needed reforms within the DWP.
Thank you to Ron Nichols for his work during his tenure at DWP, including the City’s transition to a more renewable energy portfolio. I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.