Manager John Janney gives notice that he’ll leave Chelan PUD this year

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February 18, 2013

(Wenatchee, WA) In order to put more focus on his family and on serving his church, General Manager John Janney has announced that he will leave Chelan County PUD this year. He has informed the Board of Commissioners, and they have asked him to remain at his post until Aug. 1.

“I spent the holidays with my wife and family and had the chance to reflect at length on my priorities,” said Janney in announcing his decision. “I realized that I want to be there more fully to see my kids grow up, and that I am in danger of missing that chance with a job like this that requires so much of a time commitment. It was a difficult decision, but I felt I had to put faith and family first.

“Colette and the kids and I intend to remain in this wonderful community if at all possible.”

Janney was named interim general manager in July 2010 following the resignation of Rich Riazzi and was appointed general manager in August of that year. Janney joined the PUD in 2007 as chief risk officer and later served in the combined role of chief financial officer and chief risk officer.

“John has been a terrific leader, but I understand his choice,” said Commission President Carnan Bergren.

He said the transition period until Aug. 1 will allow the utility to go through a thorough process to find a successor without disrupting the District’s business. “It’s too early to know exactly what the process will be, but we intend to find a first-rate leader for the utility,” Bergren said.

“John has done a great job on behalf of the PUD’s customers,” added Commissioner Dennis Bolz.

Janney led the utility through one of the most difficult economic periods in its history. During his tenure, the PUD engaged in a comprehensive outreach program to understand better what Chelan County residents want from their PUD.

That effort culminated in a new Strategic Plan in 2010 that reflected the priorities and preferences of PUD customers and set the PUD on a sustainable course. The PUD developed a new program to help stabilize revenues from surplus power sales, leading to more stable rates for PUD customer-owners. As a result, the PUD is expected to meet or exceed aggressive debt reduction targets, is on track to establish and maintain prudent rainy day reserves and is in transition to a system that eliminates subsidies in the PUD’s non-electric businesses to ensure that electric, water, wastewater and fiber customers will pay the cost of having those services.

“John has worked very hard to have the PUD really listen to the people it serves,” said Commissioner Ann Congdon.

“John has conducted himself with great integrity, and I think everyone responds to that,” added Commissioner Norm Gutzwiler.

“I have come to rely on John’s judgment, especially on the financial aspects of our business,” said Commissioner Randy Smith, “and that judgment has really served our customers well.”

After another extensive customer-outreach effort, a new strategic plan was adopted in 2012 for the PUD’s wholesale fiber business, designed to put the fiber program on a sustainable financial path that allows for limited expansion with funds generated from the fiber business.

Operational excellence and efficiency have been a hallmark of Janney’s leadership, helping to keep rates low and allowing the PUD to operate today with the fewest employees in nearly a decade.

“I am incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made over the past few years,” said Janney. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with dedicated PUD employees who work hard every day to provide top-notch electric, water, wastewater and fiber-optic services at reasonable rates while maintaining a strong focus on the needs of our customer-owners.”