Monday, February 7, 2011

DWSD Management, Judicial Oversight Teams Shuffled

In the past several weeks, Mayor Dave Bing has taken steps to fill major gaps in DWSD's Management Team, and U. S. Judge Sean Cox has taken steps to clear away some of the supporting elements crafted by his 93 year old predecessor.  

Judicial Oversight

In his first official moves since taking over control of the 33 year old federal lawsuit involving the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, U. S. District Judge Sean Cox last week issued orders disbanding and discharging an advisory panel and special master appointed by Judge Feikens

The Southeast Michigan Consortium for Water Quality was an advisory panel  of regional business leaders and stakeholders formed in 2001 by the Court to provide a forum for discussing and resolving problems between DWSD and its suburban customers. The Consortium was led by Timothy O'Brien, an attorney and an executive with Ford Motor Co.  Judge Feikens clarified the role of the Consortium in a 2003 Order. It was that Order that Judge Cox recently vacated.

Thomas Lewand was appointed in 2002 as Special Master by Judge Feikens. His role was detailed in a December 8, 2008 Crain's Detroit Business profile (here). Judge Cox also vacated the order appointing Thomas Lewand. It is unclear whether Judge Cox intends to replace Mr. Lewand. 

There were reports last week that Judge Cox was meeting privately with stakeholders, such as Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Anthony V. Marrocco, but no details have been disclosed.

In the coming months, Judge Cox will have to grapple with Oakland County's motion to appoint an Interim Regional Committee to Operate DWSD.  This motion, and Rep. Kurt Heise's proposed legislation to create a regional water authority, both threaten to reignite a long-simmering dispute between the City of Detroit and its suburban customers over water, water rates, and control over DWSD.  

Executive Management Team

Meanwhile, with much less fanfare, Mayor Bing has been quietly filling in most of the gaps in DWSD's  Executive Management Team naming three (3) Assistant Directors in the past month.  All three have extensive experience.   
  • A. B. Davis, Jr., P.E. - Assistant Director of Asset Maintenance.  Mr. Davis  is  registered professional engineer with 37 years of experience. He has worked for DWSD for more than 31 years, and formerly served as Assistant Director Facilities and Materials Management Operations. (Welcome back, A.B.!)
  • James George - Assistant Director Financial Services Group. Mr. George was Assistant Director - Financial Services and Financial Manager with DWSD from 1987 to 2005. He served a stint with Wayne County before returning to DWSD.
  • Rodney Johnson - Assistant Director of Commercial Operations and Public Affairs. Mr. Johnson has worked for DWSD since 1981. He has a B.S. from Wayne State University (MIS) and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. 
Despite these appointments, and the progress they represent, Mayor Bing has yet to find a new Director to replace Pamela Turner, who retired last July.

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