On July 16, 2007, his first day on the job, General Manager J. Peter Lark fired 3 top administrators: Bill Cook, senior vice president of operations; Amy Cavanaugh, the general counsel; and Bob Van Ells, manager of electric and steam production. Although it would seem he hardly had time to get to know them, he explained the firings to the Lansing State Journal as follows: "I'm trying to create a collegial, friendly group."
I think he wanted to share the bounty with friends. In the next few months, he hired 3 former colleagues at the Michigan Public Service Commission, which he had chaired before taking the BWL job.
*Salaries are as of 12/31/2008.
Devon and Stojic now comprise half of the BWL executive team.
In August, this anonymous letter was received at the BWL:
Other firings followed. Richard Daly, a Human Resources employee, left in November. Denice Mulder, Human Resources Director, left in December. Those two came to light in a 2/22/09 Lansing State Journal article on payouts to former employees. The article said that in the previous 2 years, the BWL spent $1.3 million on payouts to former employees. Here's the part of that $1.3 million that consisted of direct payments; the rest was in the form of health benefits, etc. (click on name to see separation agreement):
Note this statement in the anonymous letter, above: "You may have pleased the Mayor and some union members . . ." This is reminiscent of a statement in 9/12/2002 article in the LSJ about the Board of Commissioner's firing of Joe Pandy: "[Mayor David] Hollister said the board was concerned with Pandy's relationship with employees and unions, as well as customer satisfaction." It would seem that to keep his job, a BWL general manager must be sure to keep the union happy.