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One of three finalists for utility general manager steps out of ring

Monday, June 28, 2010 by Michelle Jimenez

Ronald Davis, one of three finalists for Austin Energy’s general manager position has withdrawn his candidacy, the recruitment firm handling the selection process confirmed Monday afternoon.


Davis is general manager of Burbank Water and Power, a community-owned utility that serves the City of Burbank, Calif.


Scott Fry, managing director for the Colorado-based Mycoff, Fry & Prouse LLC, said he does not yet know why Davis pulled out.


“I’m still working on the details of that,” he said. “I don’t have an answer for you right now.”


Rumors were circulating this weekend that Davis had promised the Burbank utility board that he would withdraw because they had offered him a higher salary than the approximately $240,000 he has been making.


City Manager Marc Ott alerted Mayor Lee Leffingwell and City Council members of the development in a memo today.


The remaining finalists are Larry Weis, general manager and chief executive officer of the Turlock (Calif.) Irrigation District, and David Wright, general manager of the City of Riverside (Calif.) Public Utilities.


In the memo, Ott says the process will move forward with Weis and Wright, who will be in Austin on Wednesday and Thursday for a series of panel interviews and a community meeting.


“The withdrawal of Davis creates an opportunity to use the extra time in the schedule for additional vetting by community stakeholders,” Ott writes. “In addition to the Community Meeting we are working on scheduling two additional panel interviews, one with the business community and one with the environmental community.”


The decision to expand the community input process comes on the heels of a push late last week by the environmental community and low-income advocates, who asked Ott for a separate and exclusive meeting with the candidates.


Wednesday’s community meeting, open to the general public, will be held from 6pm- 8pm at the Town Lake Center, Austin Energy’s headquarters, at 721 Barton Springs Road. It will be in the Shudde Fath Assembly Room. The exact time for the other meetings has not been announced.


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