Monday, March 26, 2012

Judge Cox Orders DWSD to Hire Chief Operating Officer, per Request of Root Cause Committee

Earlier today, at the request of the members of the Root Cause Committee, Judge Sean Cox entered an Order creating the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) within the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

In a joint letter to the Court's Special Master, David Ottenwess, dated last Friday, March 23, 2012, the four members of the Root Cause Committee -- James Fausone, Charles Pugh, Gary Brown, and Mayor Dave Bing -- plus Director Sue McCormick, laid out the need for another position within DWSD, reporting to the Director, and urged Judge Cox to create the position of Chief Operating Officer:
The undersigned are the members of the Root Cause Committee originally appointed by the Hon. Sean F. Cox in his Order of September 9, 2011 with continued authorized responsibilities in his subsequent Order of November 4, 2011.
The Root Cause Committee has met recently to address a number of serious issues facing the DWSD which involve matters of finance and internal structural changes originally mandated by the Court in its November 4 Order. Specifically, we have determined, based on the current level of activity required to implement the November 4th Order by the Board and the Director, it is appropriate and imperative that the DWSD management structure include the position of a Chief Operating Officer (COO) reporting to the Director.
The COO should have significant experience in municipal law, municipal finance, and operations oversight which would include, human resources, procurement, finance and law. These are the four divisions DWSD must stand up to implement the November 4th Order and achieve short and long term compliance with environmental permits.
Judge Cox granted this request. Earlier today, the Court entered an Order directing Mayor Bing (or his designee) to hire a Chief Operating Officer / Compliance Officer at the DWSD. 

2012-03-26.Order by Judge Sean Cox Appointing Chief Operating Officer (COO) for DWSD                                                                                                   

Comment: What about the Deputy Director?

Update (3/29): Mayor Bing's office announced yesterday that DWSD has hired Matthew Schenk to serve as the new Chief Operating Officer for the Department.  Mr. Schenk, 40, most recently served as Chief of Staff for Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. According to the Free Press (here), Mr. Schenk will be paid $194,000 per year, just shy of the $195,000 per year paid to DWSD Director Sue McCormick.

Update (4/16): Matthew Schenk's hiring continues to raise questions. The Detroit News reports today (here) that both Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner, John McCulloch, and Macomb County Public Works Commissioner, Anthony Marracco, were unaware of the decision to hire Schenk.

For more about DWSD Update, click here.

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