TMWA General Manager Suddenly Resigns

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The General Manager of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority announced Wednesday morning she is stepping down.

The news comes while TMWA is in talks with an investment firm about possibly handing over the operation of the utility for the next 50 years.

The announcement came during a public meeting of TMWA's board. The meeting was supposed to clarify what the leasing would entail and while those details are still pretty murky, one thing is clear: TMWA will look considerably different in the future.

"TMWA needs a leader who is 100 percent committed to the now vision and that changing vision," Williams said. "I am not that leader. It is therefore time for me to step aside and make room for such a leader. I am hereby giving you my 60-day written notice under my contract of employment with TMWA."

Williams says regardless of whether or not TMWA is ultimately leased to Goldman Sachs, he won't be around as general manager to see it.

Fellow board member and chairman Mike Carrigan says he was surprised, but not necessarily disappointed with his colleague's decision.

"I respect her for that. I think any leader would probably do the same thing. If she didn't like the direction the board was going it's her prerogative to step down."

Carrigan was the only board member who voted against approving up to 100 thousand dollars in funding for a study that will take a closer look at the proposed deal.

Those in favor say the upfront cash payment of up to $160 million will bring in much-needed funding, but Carrigan says it will come at a hefty price.

"It took us a long time to get the company back in the hands of the citizens. Water is our most precious commodity in the Truckee Meadows. There's a lot of money to be made in this and I understand that, but also i think we should keep this water in the hands of the people. It's as simple as that."

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority will now take a closer look at the deal before formally voting on it on August 20th. If it passes that phase, the item will then go before the City of Reno; Sparks and Washoe county, with each entity getting their own opportunity to review this proposal.

The Truckee Meadows Water Authority has been a community owned non-profit utility for the past seven years. Departing general manager Lori Williams has been overseeing the company as GM for the last five.