Public Lighting Authority names executive director

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Public Lighting Authority on Monday announced Beau Taylor has been appointed as its new executive director.

Taylor, who most recently served as regional manager of Asplundh Construction Midwest, previously was director of the Detroit’s Public Lighting Department from 2013-16, aiding in the creation of the authority. He had been with the department since 2011. He also worked as an assistant to the city’s chief operating officer.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have someone with Beau’s experience and credentials to direct the authority as it transitions to its operations and management duties now that reliable public lighting has been restored across the City of Detroit,” said Lorna Thomas, chairwoman of the authority’s board, in a statement released Monday.

“His past experience managing the Public Lighting Department, including revamping the electric infrastructure in Detroit and migrating municipal electric customers to DTE Energy’s electric grid, provide the ideal background to assure the PLA operations move ahead seamlessly.”

Taylor succeeds former CEO Nicolette Carlone, whose contract expired Aug. 1. Carlone, who had held the post since February 2016, did not seek reappointment. Taylor’s appointment is effective immediately.

“I look forward to assuring that the authority moves forward with its maintenance and operations role with the same efficiency and expertise that we saw in the construction phase,” Taylor said.

Under the three-year contract, Taylor will earn $150,000 per year. He also will be eligible for a $10,000 performance bonus annually, said Dan Austin, a spokesman for the authority.

The past two directors earned $250,000 annually. The changing salary reflects the transition from an entity that was constructing the lighting system, to one that is now maintaining it.

The authority was authorized by the Michigan Legislature in December 2012 and approved by City Council with the goal of designing and implementing a three-year plan to improve the city’s public lighting system.

In December 2016, the authority completed a program that installed 65,000 new LED streetlights throughout the city over a three-year period.

The state-created organization is overseen by a five-member board of Detroit residents appointed by the mayor and Detroit City Council. It is a separate legal entity from the city of Detroit.

Taylor is the third person to head the authority since its creation. In 2013, Odis Jones was tapped for the role and played an instrumental part in fixing the city’s longstanding street lighting problems.

His contract was later extended indefinitely in November 2015 and he was awarded a bonus of $20,000 for outstanding achievement. He resigned several months later, citing other opportunities.