Thursday, June 18, 2009

WSSC Board Picks New GM, But...

...The Gazette is already finding problems with his record in his old job in the District of Columbia. You just can't make this up, folks!

Update: Following is the press release from County Executives Ike Leggett and Jack Johnson. Note their lack of comment on the Gazette's information.

Update 2: The Post's Katherine Shaver, who has done consistently strong reporting on WSSC, has more.

Press Release
For Immediate Release: June 18, 2009

Leggett, Johnson Recommend New General Manager for Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson today announced their recommendation of Jerry N. Johnson to serve as the new Chief Executive Officer/General Manager of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

Johnson is currently General Manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), a position he has held since 1997. He is nationally known as a turnaround specialist. As the first General Manager of a newly created water and sewer authority, he guided it from an unrated agency, with a projected $8 million deficit, to one with an A+ credit rating and $170 million reserve in just two years. In addition to being responsible for the day-to-day operations, planning and management of the authority, he developed and recommended long-range capital programs, financial programs and special projects to the Board, then oversaw
their implementation.

WASA provides drinking water and wastewater treatment to more than half a million residential, commercial and local governmental customers in the District and collects and treats wastewater for 1.6 million WSSC customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland and for Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. The authority also operates the 150-acre Blue Plains Water Treatment Plant, the largest advanced treatment plant in the world.

Before his career at WASA, Johnson was employed by the City of Richmond for nearly two decades, serving in various capacities. From 1991 to 1997, he was Deputy City Manager for Operations. He also served as Director of Public Utilities and was responsible for four utility operations -- gas, electric, water and wastewater – providing service to the metropolitan Richmond area.

”I am very pleased that Jerry Johnson has agreed to serve in this important role,” Johnson said. “His extensive experience and background with wastewater treatment and management and his knowledge of our region makes him the best choice for General Manager.”

“Jerry Johnson’s extensive experience with utilities, especially with water and wastewater treatment, makes him the ideal person for this position,” Leggett said. “He also has the added advantage of knowing the WSSC service area and could hit the ground running.”

Johnson has an A.S. degree in Business Administration from Ferrum College, a B.S. in Urban Affairs and Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He also completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local
Government at the JFK School of Government at Harvard.

The WSSC is the eighth largest water and wastewater utility in the country, providing water and sewer services to nearly 1.8 million residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The agency operates and maintains nearly 5,500 miles of freshwater pipe lines and more than 5,300 miles of sewer main lines.