Top Anaheim Official Heads to LA

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Los Angeles just nabbed another top official from Orange County to take over a beleaguered mega-agency.

Anaheim City Manager Marcie Edwards was nominated today by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to become general manager of the city’s mammoth DWP, the Department of Water and Power.

Edwards is the second Orange County official this week plucked to head up an LA area agency. Undersheriff John Scott was announced as the interim Los Angeles County sheriff on Tuesday.

If she’s confirmed by the LA City Council, it’s unclear who would replace Edwards at Anaheim City Hall.

Anaheim council members could discuss the issue during their next meeting on Feb. 4, unless they hold a special meeting before then.

Edwards worked for DWP for nearly 25 years before coming to Anaheim in 2001 to run its utilities agency.

DWP runs the power and water service for the 3.9 million residents and thousands of businesses in the city of Los Angeles.

Edwards’ appointment comes amid a criminal investigation into how nonprofit groups overseen by DWP’s general manager spent more than $40 million in ratepayer money, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

The groups were created more than a decade ago to improve relations between labor and management after layoffs at the city-owned utility. The organizations — the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute — are overseen by DWP General Manager Ron Nichols and the union’s politically powerful business manager, Brian D’Arcy. No detailed public accounting of the group’s expenditures has been released since their formation.

Nichols, who has been unwilling or unable to provide city officials the records they requested, announced his resignation earlier this month, a day after attending a meeting with city auditors about the groups.

It’s not the only challenge facing the multibillion-dollar agency, according to the Times:

Edwards would take over an agency also trying to fix a new, $162-million computerized billing system that sent as many as 70,000 late or inaccurate bills to customers in recent months.

You can reach Nick Gerda at ngerda@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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