Arrowsmith to Head Utilities

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By Marganne Glasser

Recent closed-door county council sessions culminated in the appointment of John Arrowsmith to serve as manager of the Department of Utilities when current Manager Robert “Buck” Monday retires in June.

Ralph Phelps, chair of the Public Utilities Board, strongly endorsed Arrowsmith’s appointment at the council meeting Tuesday night and said the board concurred unanimously.

He said the board considered an external search, found no compelling reason to proceed and recognized the risk of an outsider unfamiliar with the county.

Phelps cited Arrowsmith’s solid understanding of all aspects of running a utilities department, his extensive experience negotiating with the Department of Energy on Los Alamos National Laboratory contracts and effective staff relations as deciding factors.

Arrowsmith has served as an assistant utilities manager since 2004. He joined the county’s utilities department in 1990 after 10 years of employment with PNM.

In an interview Tuesday, Arrowsmith said a likely reason for his selection was his ongoing role in negotiations with DOE on energy cost allocations.

He characterized the atmosphere as having evolved from a contrary and confrontational one to one focused on resolving issues. The DOE contract is subject to renewal every three years and will be revisited in 2010.

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