On the Ballot

Sewerage & Water Board seats 3 new directors

By Beau Evans

Source: NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

March 29, 2019

Three new directors have joined the 11-member panel tasked with overseeing the Sewerage & Water Board. The additions follow a recent law change that called for vacating nearly all board seats this year along with adding a New Orleans City Council member.

The new board members include Janet Howard, the former president and CEO of the watchdog Bureau of Governmental Research; Dr. Maurice Sholas, a New Orleans-based psychiatrist who runs a clinic consulting firm; and Glen Pilié, an attorney with the firm Adams and Reese who worked as a civil engineer with the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the 1970s.

The three new members were among more than a dozen applicants recommended by a group of local university presidents convened as a selection committee, per state law. Their choices went to Mayor LaToya Cantrell, who the law charges with making Sewerage & Water Board director appointments. The City Council approved her appointments Thursday (March 28).

Now largely set, the 11-member board is tasked guiding the utility through a period of tough financial straits, including the potential that its drainage system runs out of cash by year’s end. New Orleans is also approaching the June 1 start of hurricane season.

Also among the mayor-picked, council-approved appointments were two current board members, Alejandra Guzman and Robin Barnes. Guzman is the vice president for performance management and strategy at the New Orleans Business Alliance, and Barnes is Greater New Orleans Inc.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Not yet sent to the City Council for approval are two other current board members, Tamika Duplessis and Joseph Peychaud. They will be re-appointed by Cantrell and sent to the council later for approval, according to the mayor’s communications director, Beau Tidwell. Duplessis is Delgado Community College’s lead chemistry instructor and serves as the utility board’s president pro-tempore. Peychaud is the former president of St. Katharine Drexel Preparatory School.

Additionally, two current members representing the Board of Liquidation, City Debt, look to retain their seats, according to a liquidation board official. They include Ralph Johnson, the vice chancellor for business and administrative affairs at Delgado; and Lynes “Poco” Sloss, the president and CEO of the IT consulting firm Bellwether Technology Corp.

City Councilman Jay Banks gained a seat on the utility board earlier this year following a change to state law. Cantrell, as mayor, serves as the board’s president.

Departing the board are Nicole Barnes, the nonprofit Jericho Road Episcopal Housing Initiative’s executive director; Lewis Sterling III, founder of the commercial brokerage and property management firm Sterling & Associates; and Andrew Amacker, the board’s lone professional civil engineer. Pilié fills a requirement under state law that the board have a retired civil engineer.

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