LADWP General Manager to Step Down at End of Month

GM Ron Nichols' resignation comes as the department is embroiled in a billing system controvesy

The head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will step down at the end of January, according to the LA mayor's office.

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the departure Thursday in a news release.

Read: Ron Nichols' Resignation Letter

"I thank Ron for his service to our city as head of a department that serves every L.A. resident and business," Mayor Garcetti said in the statement. "I'm focused on continuing to reform the DWP to cut costs, improve customer service and increase transparency."

The resignation comes amid controversy, including complaints from customers who said they were overcharged on monthly bills after the introduction of a new billing system. In a letter to the mayor and other city leaders, Nichols said the decision to step down "is my own and is for personal  reasons."

The department also is under scrutiny over a pair of trusts that received more than $40 million in ratepayer money from the DWP. Even though Nichols sits on the boards of those trusts, he was unable to provide  financial documents city leaders requested to determine how the money was used.

City Controller Ron Galperin is conducting an audit into the financial  activities of the trusts. Nichols attended an initial meeting with Galperin and  and provided some materials.

City officials said the rest of the financial records need to be  provided by the DWP employee union head, Brian D'Arcy, who has so far refused  to turn over the documents. Galperin said he was issuing a subpoena to force  D'Arcy to appear at an audit meeting and release the rest of the documents.

"I was brought in to lead DWP by the prior administration and I felt it  important to stay on board afterward to provide time for the new  administration's transition," he wrote.

Nichols said he does not have "specific plans for a future leadership  role in the industry elsewhere" to avoid potential conflict of interest. His letter to Garcetti mentioned several accomplishments during his three-year tenure as head of the utility.

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Copyright CNS - City News Service
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