Monday, October 19, 2015

Sue McCormick Selected to Lead Great Lakes Water Authority

The Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Water Authority voted 5-1 this afternoon for Sue McCormick to serve as the Authority's first CEO.  Ms. McCormick currently serves as the Interim-CEO. She most recently served as Director of DWSD from January, 2012 until two weeks ago when Gary Brown was selected to replace her. 

The only opposition to Ms. McCormick among the Board members was from Robert Daddow, who is the Oakland County representative on the GLWA. Mr. Daddow favored Randy Moore, an executive from American Water. Under the GLWA By-Laws, a minimum of 5 affirmative votes was required to approve the resolution approving Ms. McCormick's selection. The Board still must approve an employment agreement with Ms. McCormick.

For more about DWSD Update, click here

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Great Lakes Water Board Reduces List of CEO Candidates, Delays Final Vote until Monday

The Great Lakes Water Authority Board of Directors met this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. to select a new CEO, but decided instead to cut the list of candidates down to two - Sue McCormick and Randy Moore - and postpone a final vote until Monday, October 19th at 1:30 p.m. 

Ms. McCormick and Mr. Moore reportedly garnered the highest rankings among the four candidates, following a lengthy interview process on October 12th that ran more than 4 hours.  So, the decision was made to cut the short list in half.  

The decision to delay a final vote until next Monday was to give the Board enough time to receive and review complete background checks on the two finalists.

The GLWA Board meets in the 5th Floor Board Room in the Water Board Building at 735 Randolph.   

For more about DWSD Update, click here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

City of Flint Set to Return to DWSD for its Drinking Water, at least Temporarily (UPDATED)

On October 8, 2015, nearly 18 months after ending its 50 year relationship with Detroit, the City of Flint has decided to resume buying its drinking water from the DWSD system after encountering a myriad of problems with its source water, the Flint River.

The problems the Flint encountered with drawing water from the Flint River have ranged from taste, foul odor, and most recently, high levels of lead. The increase in lead levels is thought to be caused by corrosive elements in the Flint River. The finding of elevated lead levels in the blood of Flint children was the last straw, and compelled local and state leaders to support a return to DWSD. 

The issues concerning Flint's water problems are well documented in the, which is a website published and maintained by Virginia Tech researchers who are involved in studying Flint's drinking water. The Flint Journal has also followed this issue very closely.

Flint's return to DWSD is expected to take 2 weeks to complete. However, this will only be a temporary measure as Flint is committed to joining the Karegnondi Water Authroty (KWA), which is still constructing its new 63 mile raw water intake pipe. KWA's pipeline project is slated for completion in mid-2016. Once completed, Flint will receive raw water from Lake Huron, which it still must process through its own water treatment plant. Water from DWSD is already purified potable (drinking) water.  

Update (10/11): The Detroit Free Press has a very comprehensive article about Flint water woes and how better advanced planning and testing might have averted the current crisis.

Update (10/14): A copy of the water licensing agreement between the City of Flint and Genesee County Drain Commissioner can be found here. This agreement was required because after Flint terminated its contract with DWSD, it sold off a segment of water main to Genesee County.

For more about DWSD Update, click here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Great Lakes Water Authority Approves Short List of Candidates for CEO (UPDATED)

On October 7, 2015, shortly after the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners approved a new Director and Deputy Director, the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) held a public meeting and approved a short list of 4 candidates to fill the top position with the new Authority. 

The four finalists for the CEO position are:
The GLWA Board will interview the 4 candidates in an open session on Monday, October 12, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.  (Update: According the GLWA's Calendar - - the CEO interviews are scheduled for Tuesday, October 13th at 4:00 p.m.The GLWA Board meets in the 5th Floor Board Room in the Water Board Building at 735 Randolph. 

The GLWA Board is also expected to deliberate in open session and select a CEO candidate with whom it will engage in contract negotiations.

Comment: Other than Sue McCormick, who is currently serving as Interim-CEO, and served as Director of DWSD for the past 4 years, I don't know any of the other candidates. I have linked each candidate to their LinkedIn profile. If any of you have insights about the other three candidates, now is the time to speak up!  

For more about DWSD Update, click here.     

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Water Board Approves New Leadership at DWSD

Earlier this morning, the Board of Water Commissioners approved the appointment of Gary Brown to serve as Director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Mr. Brown will replace Sue McCormick, who was appointed in November, 2011 to lead the Department. 

Mr. Brown currently serves as Group Executive of Operations for the City of Detroit. He previously served on the Detroit City Council and was a member of the "Root Cause" Committee created by Judge Sean Cox in 2011.

The Board of Water Commissioners also confirmed the appointment of  Palencia Mobley, P.E. to serve as Deputy Director and Chief Engineer.  Ms. Mobley currently serves as Transition Manager for DWSD, a position she's held since December, 2014.  

Prior to entering government service, Ms. Mobley worked as a Project Engineer for two private engineering firms -- Malcom Pirnie (now part of Arcadis) and Tetra Tech. Ms. Mobely has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (Univ of Michigan, 2001), and a M.S. in Civil Engineering (Wayne State Univ, 2004). She is also a licensed professional engineer in the state of Michigan since 2006.  Click here for Ms. Mobely's complete professional profile. 

Mayor Mike Duggan recommended the appointment of Mr. Brown and Ms. Mobley in a September 21, 2015 letter to the Board of Water Commissioners

For more about DWSD Update, click here

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tooles Contracting Submits Low Bid on Lake Huron WTP Project, LH-397

On September 29, 2015, Tooles Contracting Group submitted the low bid for the project known as "Miscellaneous Concrete Crack Repairs and Restoration at Lake Huron Water Treatment Plant," DWSD Contract LH-397. 

The as-read bids are as follows:
  1. Tooles Contracting Group, LLC . . . . $ 922,264
  2. Detroit Contracting, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . $ 942,510
  3. Ram Construction Services . . . . . . . . $ 987,710
  4. Lakeshore Global Corporation . . . . . $1,049,000
  5. Elgin Builders, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$,1094,450
  6. Mark 1 Restoration Services . . . . . . . $1,182,260
Comment: It may be due to the nature of the work for this project, but there are a number of new faces in the bid tab. That's good.  Competition is a good thing. And in the case of Elgin Builders, a blast from the past.
For more about DWSD Update, click here.