In a December 18, 2012 Special Newsletter, Mr. McCulloch, a frequent critic of DWSD, reflected on his tenure as Water Resources Commissioner for Oakland County, including his role in shaping the future direction of the Department:
During my 12-year tenure, the Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office has been at the vanguard in reducing costs, placing a premium on customer service and initiating innovative programs that have provided taxpayers with the “most bang for their buck.” Before departing, I’d like to mention a few of the major achievements of which I am most proud.
The 35-year-old lawsuit filed by my predecessor, George W. Kuhn, to force the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act became my fight.
I led the effort to revamp the Detroit Water Board and how it operates by insisting on a greater voice at the table for Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties in the decision-making process. My office also successfully fought the City of Detroit’s lawsuit to end Federal Court oversight of the DWSD.
I am encouraged about the future of the DWSD because of a comprehensive report which calls for a wholesale reorganization of the department. It gives me hope that years of bloated bureaucracy and mismanagement at the DWSD are finally nearing an end. But despite the encouraging signs of progress, there is still much work left to do. One thing I strongly recommend is that a second opinion be sought before any drastic cuts or changes are made to the DWSD operation. In addition, it would be a good idea to search out other entities nationwide which have been successful in transforming their water/wastewater systems into well-managed, cost-effective and efficient operations.
As the DWSD moves forward, my hope is that it will make a good faith effort to reassess how it does business and provides services. The reality is that the water and sewer industry is rapidly changing. That means we need to improve the operating process to reduce costs by instituting new water technologies, as Oakland County has sought to achieve with its innovative H2Opportunities program. The fact is our underground infrastructure is aging and decaying, making innovative methods to streamline current practices absolutely essential.
Click here for the full text of Mr. McCulloch's final message, which also addresses his accomplishments with the Oakland County WRC, his principal charge.
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