New LADWP head to be paid $750K salary, steep increase from predecessor

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024
New general manager at LADWP hired at $750K salary
The Los Angeles City Council confirmed the hiring of PG&E executive Janisse Quiñones to head the Department of Water and Power at a salary of $750,000.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday confirmed the hiring of a longtime PG&E executive to head the Department of Water and Power at an annual salary of $750,000 - a sharp increase from her predecessor.

Janisse Quiñones replaces current general manager Martin Adams, who is retiring. He was paid a salary of $435,000.

"This council will be considering many important appointments that the mayor will be making, but very few will be as consequential as this one," Council President Paul Krekorian said. "Leadership of the DWP is absolutely vital to this city.''

Quiñones previously served as senior vice president of electric operations at Pacific Gas & Electric.

Council members defended the big jump in salary as necessary to attract private-sector talent.

"Her salary without question is (nearly) doubled from her predecessor, but she comes from the private sector," said Councilmember Kevin de León. "She comes from an investor-owned utility where she could easily command twice that amount."

Last year, the City Council approved a new salary range between $435,000 to $751,000 for the general managers who oversee the city's DWP, port and airport.

In unanimously confirming her hiring Tuesday, the council backed an earlier decision by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners to offer the new general manager the maximum amount in that approved range.

The funding for her position comes from department revenues generated by its water and power customers in Los Angeles.

City officials note there are other municipal utility districts across the U.S. that pay similar salary rates, including in Sacramento and Omaha.

The change comes as the utility needs to follow new rules to produce 100% clean energy by 2035.

"For me, it's critically important that the needs of ratepayers are always at the forefront, but also making sure that the department is striking a balance and achieving the greatest amount of efficiencies," says Councilmember Monica Rodriguez.

Quiñones spoke after the vote.

"I went through a competitive process and in the competitive process, the salary was already set up by the city, so I don't really have comment other than it's reasonable compared to others in the industry," she said.

She starts her tenure immediately. The City Clerk administered the oath of office for Quiñones after the vote Tuesday. The position is officially referred to in a department statement as "chief executive officer and chief engineer."

Adams will stay on for a time to help the transition.

City News Service contributed to this report.