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Jun. 17, 2019

LA water and power manager exits post, as questions swirl around ratepayer settlement

David H. Wright, who worked on restoring ratepayer trust regarding the utility’s water billing issues since assuming the lead role in 2016, exits as questions surround the handling of a $67 million ratepayer settlement that has been reopened by a superior court judge.

Amid a widening investigation into the settlement of a lawsuit over rates, the general manager of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power said Friday he would step down from leading the utility in the fall.

The city did not give a reason for David H. Wright 's departure. It noted that Mayor Eric Garcetti nominated utility veteran Marty Adams to succeed Wright.

"His experience and leadership helped us take important steps towards building the DWP of the future," Garcetti said in a statement

Wright joined the department in 2015 around the time a controversial settlement in Antwon Jones v. City of Los Angeles was tentatively reached. He became manager in September 2016. Since the beginning of this year, the settlement has been mired in controversy following allegations of collusion and dual representation between the city attorney's office and opposing counsel.

Three attorneys have resigned from working with the city, two have pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination during depositions, and City Attorney Michael N. Feuer has vowed to crack down on unethical behavior.

Adams' nomination is subject to the department of water and power board of commissioners as well as city council confirmation.

As chief operating officer, the city said Adams strove to make the country's largest utility more sustainable, cutting water use by 20 percent and spearheading renewable power projects throughout the city.

"Marty has played a critical role in navigating the department through some of its toughest challenges, and I know that he is the right person to lead LADWP forward," said Garcetti.

-- Justin Kloczko


Justin Kloczko

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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