Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nominated Anaheim City Manager Marcie Edwards to be the next general manager of the city's Department of Water and Power. If confirmed, Edwards, who also served as chief of Anaheim Public Utilities for 13 years, would be the first woman to hold DWP's top job.
Garcetti praised Edwards for her toughness and expertise as he characterized DWP as a department in need of reform. The mayor has said that he wants the nation's largest public utility to be accountable to the people who pay for the water and power it provides. In her first public comments as nominee, Edwards said she’s ready to do that.
"In my discussions with the mayor, he has made the mission at hand abundantly clear," Edwards said. "To run this department like a business and leave politics at the door, and that is a mission I would gladly accept."
Garcetti touted Edwards' experience running the public utility for Anaheim, California's 10th largest city. But he noted DWP roots are deeper. She spent 24 years at DWP earlier in her career as third-generation employee
"Her grandfather’s retirement book was signed by William Mulholland," Garcetti said. "She followed her father and her grandfather starting here at the age of 19 as a clerk typist."
News of Edwards' nomination was greeted positively around City Hall.
City Controller Ron Galperin congratulated Edwards. "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," he said in a written statement.
Galperin has issued subpoenas to Brian D'Arcy, head of DWP's largest employees' union, as part of an audit into how $40 million in ratepayers funds were spent at two nonprofits created to improve training and safety for DWP electrical workers. Ron Nichols, who leaves the agency Friday, denies that his departure has anything to do with that controversy.
Water and Power commissioners and the city council will hold confirmation hearings into Edward's nomination over the next month.
Los Angeles Councilman Felipe Fuentes chairs the Energy and Environment committee where Edwards will start the confirmation process. He said she would bring considerable experience to the post.
"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," he said in a release.
During Edward's confirmation process, Jim McDaniel, currently head of the water side, will act as general manager.
The nomination goes to the DWP Commission at it's Feb. 4 meeting, which is then subject to confirmation by the City Council, according to the mayor's office.
This story has been updated.