LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Board of Water and Power Commissioners Tuesday voted unanimously to confirm Anaheim City Manager Marcie Edwards as the new general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Edwards was nominated by Mayor Eric Garcetti last week to head the LADWP following the departure of Ron Nichols, who stepped down after three years in the position.
The appointment, which is subject to confirmation by the City Council, would make her the first female general manager in the 112-year history of the department.
Edwards would also come to the LADWP as it works to patch over a troubled overhaul of its 39-year-old billing and customer information system. Glitches in the initial months of the $162 million changeover resulted in tens of thousands of incorrect bills being sent out, with some customers being charged several times more than they owed and receiving shutoff threats from the utility. Customer service call wait times also ballooned as people called in to fix their bills.
She would also be stepping into the middle of intense scrutiny into a pair of trusts that received more than $40 million in ratepayer money from the DWP.
Board President Mel Levine championed Edwards’ experience in a statement confirming its members’ support.
“She has the proven leadership and experience to take on the issues at LADWP and lead the department through many tough challenges that lie ahead,” Levine said.
Edwards ran Anaheim Public Utilities for 13 years prior to her appointment as city manager and previously worked for 24 years at LADWP, starting as a clerk typist at age 19.
She then became a steam plant assistant, a plant equipment operator, a steam plant operator, a load dispatcher and a senior load dispatcher.
She later served as LADWP superintendent of load dispatching, energy control center manager, manager of bulk power operations/maintenance, bulk power business unit director, and finally, assistant general manager for the marketing and the customer service business units.
Garcetti applauded Edwards “toughness and expertise” when announcing her nomination last week.
“During the mayor’s race, L.A. voters gave me a mandate to reform the DWP, and with Marcie Edwards, we’re going to make sure the DWP is more efficient, tightly managed, reliable and that costs are cut,” he said.
Edwards said at the time she was “honored” to accept the mayor’s nomination.
“In my discussions with Mayor Garcetti, he made the mission at hand abundantly clear – to run this department like a business and leave politics at the door – and that is a mission I will gladly accept,” she said.
During its meeting Tuesday, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners also confirmed Jim McDaniel, LADWP senior assistant general manager of the water system, as the interim general manager until Edwards’ confirmation.
Marty Adams will serve as interim senior assistant general manager of the water system, replacing Jim McDaniel.
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