Monday, October 22, 2007

Ron Deaton Might NOT Retire In January!

The word around City Hall has been that while DWP General Manager Ron Deaton has largely recovered from the affects of his heart malfunction in Costa Rica, that due to the wishes of his family - and the fact that his contract was soon up, he was going to retire.

Then when H. David Nahai resigned from the DWP commission, his replacement of Ron as the head of the DWP seemed assured. But not so quick says David Zahiser of the LA Times:

DWP boss weighs his options

Ron Deaton has been on medical leave since suffering a heart ailment last summer. A decision about his future could come this week.

By David Zahniser Los Angeles Times Staff Writer October 22, 2007

If anyone has been a symbol of unseen power and influence at Los Angeles City Hall, it's Ron Deaton, a 42-year bespectacled bureaucrat who built a formidable reputation by getting the city's elected leaders to do what he told them.In the decade that he advised the 15-member City Council, such labels as "the most powerful person in City Hall" and "the 16th council member" attached themselves to the Seal Beach resident. And when he took the top job at the city's Department of Water and Power in 2004, Deaton found another place where he could affect the lives of millions while staying out of the public eye.

But these days, Deaton is participating in a different behind-the-scenes drama, as he, his doctors and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wait to see whether, or when, he will leave the agency that provides electricity and water to 3.8 million residents and businesses.

Deaton, 64, has been on medical leave from the DWP since July, when the vacationing DWP chief was airlifted out of Costa Rica after suffering a severe heart arrhythmia. He spent two days in a coma. And he has been going through a painstaking rehabilitation that tests both his physical strength and his short-term memory.

Sources familiar with the DWP say Deaton could decide his future as soon as this week. Meanwhile, one of Villaraigosa's closest allies, attorney H. David Nahai, has gone so far as to resign from the appointed DWP commission to improve his chances of replacing Deaton.

The man who still holds the post, however, has made no announcement. While he confirmed last week that he has been looking at retirement "very seriously," Deaton also said that he has had a remarkable recovery for someone who was on the brink of death last summer."I feel confident that at some point I could come back," Deaton said last week. "I started in 1965, so not going back there has personal consequences."


Deaton's move to the DWP two years later was viewed as a victory lap of sorts. His first government job had been at the utility. Yet some were surprised when he devoted considerable energy to the signing of an agreement that promised that the DWP would warn neighborhood councils in advance about major policy changes at the utility, including customer rate hikes.

DWP Commissioner Nick Patsaouras, a Villaraigosa appointee who has lodged some brutal critiques against the utility, said last week that Deaton had done a good job. And some of the city's crustiest community leaders praised Deaton for collaborating with the neighborhood councils.

"There's no one I respect in government more than Ron Deaton," said downtown activist Brady Westwater, who sat across the table from Deaton during the bargaining sessions.

Read the full article at the above link for just a small handful of his achievements over the past 42 years, many of which will never be known except by those who were in the room with him.

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