Detroit mayor nominates 2 to head city water department
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has nominated two officials to head the city’s Water and Sewerage Department, officials announced early Tuesday.
Duggan nominated Gary Brown, currently the city’s group executive of operations, as director and Palencia Mobley, an expert on water infrastructure and environmental engineering, as its deputy director/chief engineer, according to a statement. Brown, would run the administrative side of the operation; Mobley would lead the water side, officials said.
Brown would replace Sue McCormick, who joined the city’s water department in 2012.
The city charter requires the mayor to nominate professionals for both positions. The Board of Water Commissioners is expected to vote on the nominees Wednesday.
“This team will bring balanced leadership and expertise to the city’s water operations,” Duggan said in a statement. “Gary is an outstanding administrator who has helped modernize many city services and generate significant cost savings. Palencia is a brilliant engineer and the type of young talent that will rebuild our Water Department’s infrastructure for future generations.”
If Brown and Mobley are approved, McCormick would stay on as interim director of the Great Lakes Water Authority and report to its board of directors, city officials said. She’s also a candidate for the full-time position at Great Lakes Water Authority.
The Great Lakes Water Authority, which will handle 3 million suburban customers, is set to start running the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the region’s main service provider for more than 100 years, on Jan. 1. Detroit transferred its water system to the new authority last year, partly to raise money for infrastructure. The 40-year deal pays the city $50 million per year and allows Detroit to maintain ownership of the system, which has 3,000 miles of pipes and 2,000 water main breaks yearly.
The authority was finalized in June, establishing two independent entities. The Detroit Water Department serves the city while GLWA, which is run by a separate director, leases and runs what is not the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department system outside Detroit city limits, officials said.