Gaines to retire at end of 2017

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During July, Tacoma Public Utilities Director (CEO) Bill Gaines informed the Public Utility Board of his desire to retire from his current position effective in December 2017. The Public Utility Board has approved an arrangement that facilitates such a leadership transition.

Gaines has served as TPU’s Director (CEO) for the past 10 years, after previously serving in senior executive roles at Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy. During the next several months, Gaines will continue to serve as CEO, while the Public Utility Board begins its process for recruitment, selection and onboarding a new Director.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my work with the capable and dedicated men and women at TPU, with TPU’s key customers and stakeholders, and with my regional and national utility industry colleagues,” Gaines said. “As TPU’s environment continues to evolve, it will be important to maintain focus on TPU’s specific mission and its customers, to manage and operate in a manner that is cost conscious and consistent with established law and policy, and to preserve the Public Utility Board’s ratepayer focused governance role.”

During Gaines’ tenure, TPU has accomplished many milestones including completion of the federal relicensing of its several hydroelectric projects, construction of a $200 million water filtration plant on the Green River, entering into a long term rail operating agreement with the Port of Tacoma, establishing a forward trading and risk management capability in connection with its wholesale power sales activities, and building a strong and capable management team and employee group. Importantly, TPU has also launched a broad initiative to increase its focus on service to customers, and on economic development in its service area.

Gaines has also been active in regional and national utility industry organizations, and was recently elected Vice Chair of the Board of the American Public Power Association.

”Tacoma Public Utilities has flourished under the leadership of Director Gaines,” said Public Utility Board Chair Monique Trudnowski. “Our organization is nationally recognized for financial stability, leadership and management strength, and far-sighted planning and policymaking. Director Gaines has fostered an environment of excellence and collaboration within TPU that has directly benefitted all ratepayers. I am saddened to lose such a great leader.”

“Looking ahead, I plan to continue my involvement with the utility industry issues and people that have interested and challenged me over these past several years,” Gaines said.

4 COMMENTS

  1. While Tacoma city council removed a vote to extend Gaines employment contract from last week’s agenda, TPU board voted to award Gaines $ 387,650 for his “retirement”. They did that via loophole that allows TPU to pay this hefty severance. City council did not fire him, instead TPU accepted “retirement” and also voted for extended search for replacement which allows Gaines to stay beyond legal at-will employment contract, even without a vote or support of city council. It also gives Gaines the added bonus of being able to influence the next TPU director appointment. This disregards the City of Tacoma charter change that explicitly gives the city council oversight over TPU director appointments/contracts.

  2. While Tacoma city council removed a vote to extend Gaines employment contract from last week’s agenda, today (in a ‘special meeting’ announced late Friday) TPU board voted to award Gaines $ 387,650 for his “retirement”. They did that via loophole that allows TPU to pay this hefty severance. City council did not fire him, instead TPU accepted “retirement” and also voted for extended search for replacement which allows Gaines to stay beyond legal at-will employment contract, even without a vote by city council. It also gives Gaines the added bonus of being able to influence the next TPU director appointment. This disregards the City of Tacoma charter change that explicitly gives the city council oversight over TPU director appointments/contracts.

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