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Garcetti confirms DWP chief Marcie Edwards to step down this month

Marcie Edwards
Mayor Eric Garcetti with Marcie Edwards, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, in 2014.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Marcie Edwards, who is quitting her job as general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power slightly more than two years after she was appointed to reform the agency, will step down in two weeks, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office announced Monday.

Garcetti said in a statement that DWP Chief Operating Officer David Wright, who has been at the department for two years, would take over on an interim basis after Edwards leaves Aug. 16. Wright, who previously worked at other public utilities for 25 years, will be the department’s eighth general manager in 10 years.

For the record:
12:00 AM, Aug. 02, 2016

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that David Wright, named interim general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, has worked at the agency for 27 years. He has been at the DWP for two years, and had previously worked at other public utilities for 25 years.

Edwards, 59, will continue to serve as a “special advisor” to Garcetti and the DWP through the end of the year, according to the mayor’s statement.

The statement marks the first time Garcetti has directly acknowledged Edwards’ departure, which he declined to discuss with a reporter last week. One of his aides said Edwards was planning her retirement but that she would stay in her job at least through the end of August.

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“When I took office, LADWP was facing difficult challenges — we needed a visionary leader to put our utility back on track, and that’s exactly what Marcie Edwards has done,” Garcetti said in the statement. “She has left an indelible mark on our city, and I am deeply grateful for her service.”

Garcetti, who campaigned on promises to improve the DWP, cast Edwards as a key figure in his administration when he appointed her in 2014. Yet Edwards leaves the department at a time of organizational flux and with lingering questions about how much of her reform mandate has been fulfilled.

She steered the agency through crisis in the aftermath of its botched rollout of a new billing system and helped persuade the City Council to approve a rate increase that department officials said was necessary to repair the city’s water and power infrastructure.

Edwards has had less success in achieving what she has described as another primary goal: making the department more responsive to the needs of ratepayers.

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Last month, the consumer-research group J.D. Power & Associates ranked DWP last in customer satisfaction among large Western power providers for the fifth year in a row. Edwards had said improving the department’s standing in the survey was one of her top priorities.

This fall, city residents will vote on a ballot initiative — supported by Edwards, the City Council and the mayor — that is intended to reduce political interference in the agency by giving it greater autonomy in day-to-day operations such as hiring and contracting. 

peter.jamison@latimes.com

Follow @petejamison on Twitter

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