McLain-Hill resigns from water panel amid ethics criticism

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Cynthia McClain-Hill, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, announced her resignation Jan. 9 following ethics complaints involving a discussion over a cybersecurity contract.

During the Jan. 9 commission meeting, McClain-Hill said she would be giving an opening statement for the last time, adding that it had been a “distinct honor, privilege and pleasure to serve as your member of the Los Angeles Board of Water and Power.”

Her departure follows last week’s Los Angeles Times report detailing criticism levied against McClain-Hill and then-DWP Commission President Mel Levine regarding a private phone call they had in 2019. The two commissioners discussed with two cybersecurity executives the utility’s plan to award their company a new contract.

The city’s Ethics Department disallows commissioners from privately reviewing contracts with vendors. McClain-Hill and Levine maintain they did not violate any ethics laws.

In her remarks, McClain-Hill highlighted her efforts to conserve water, improve customer service, DWP governance reforms and efforts to protect the environment.

“I’m proud of the forward-looking public policy initiatives that have been accomplished during my tenure as board president, including the adoption of the strongest customer protections related to utility service access, securing and distributing hundreds of millions of dollars in utility debt relief to our most financially vulnerable customers, and the launch of programs to help individual residents and working families stand conditions of extreme heat made worse by climate change,” McClain-Hill said.

She also touted the utility’s recent release of its LA 100 Equity Strategies, which serves as the department’s blueprint for clean energy and decarbonization efforts.

“I wish to thank you for the opportunity to work tirelessly in partnership with appointed public servants on behalf of our mayor’s administration to deliver valuable health policy programs and essential services that benefit the people at the city of Los Angeles, and support residential and business customers of the Department of Water and Power,” McClain-Hill said.

Former Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed McClain-Hill to the board in 2018, and she has served as president since 2020.

Prior to that, McClain-Hill served on the Police Commission from 2016 to 2018, the Community Redevelopment Agency Commission, the Small and Local Business Advisory Commission, the Los Angeles Mayor’s Economic Advisory Council and the California Coastal Commission.

An attorney, McClain-Hill started her own law firm in 1995. Once known as McClain-Hill and Associates, it is now known as Strategic Counsel.

The DWP will soon also see a change in leadership as General Manager Martin Adams is expected to retire in March.

Mayor Karen Bass and city officials will be looking for the next general manager to continue efforts to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035, and tackle other challenges the utility faces including water shortages.