Public Forum Tonight: Austin Energy GM Candidates
Much rides on the decision over who will be the utility's next boss
By Nora Ankrum,
3:49PM, Wed. Jun. 30, 2010
Tonight may be your only chance to see the Austin Energy general manager candidates up close and personal before the city decides who gets AE's top job.
After a nationwide search to fill AE's vacant general manager spot, the city has winnowed down its candidate pool to two California utility executives: Larry Weis, general manager and CEO of the Turlock Irrigation District in Turlock, south of Modesto; and David Wright, general manager of the Riverside Public Utilities in Riverside, east of L.A. (A third candidate, Ron Davis of Burbank, Calif., dropped out of the running earlier this week.)
Both are in town this week for face time with public officials and stakeholders, and tonight's forum at Austin Energy's headquarters will likely be the broader public's one shot at vetting the candidates.
With AE taking on some big challenges right now (rate hikes, a switch to more renewables, the restructuring of its business model), a lot is riding on this hiring decision. The wrong move could jeopardize the city's fiscal health, the Climate Protection Plan, and the affordability of electricity in Austin. Apparently the city thinks Weis and Wright can handle the pressure – join the fun tonight and find out if you agree.
Public Forum: 6pm, Austin Energy, 721 Barton Springs Rd.