Update: Team Named to Review BWL's Ice Storm Response

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Update: Team Named to Review BWL's Ice Storm Response

By FOX 47 News . CREATED Jan 20, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan 21, 2014

Cooley Law School professor and retired Brigadier General Mike McDaniel named the nine members of the team that will investigate the Lansing Board of Water and Light's response to the outages resulting from December's ice storm. They are:

Beverly Baten, former East Lansing city councilwoman

Douglas Jester, former East Lansing mayor

Jerry Richards, former Meridian Township supervisor

Darnell Early, Flint emergency manager who lives in Delta Township

Bill Long, former chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission

Larry Bass, president and C.E.O. of Friedland Industries

Michigan State Police Lt. Kyle Bowman

Patricia Spitzley, a commercial property executive

Joan Nelson, Allan Neighborhood Center director

The team will hold community forums in Lansing, East Lansing and Delta Township, with times and dates to be announced. It will also review decisions made by the BWL during the crisis and will issue a report to Mayor Virg Bernero within 90 days. The report will include recommendations for improving the response to the next storm. The Michigan Public Service Commission will review it as well.



From a press release sent by T.J. Bucholz of Lambert, Edwards & Associates, and new member of the Community Review Team.

McDaniel Names Community Review Team Members To Review Board Of Water And Light Response To Outage.

Board Members and Staff Volunteers Will Submit Findings to City of Lansing, BWL, and Lansing Community by March 31.

Retired Brigadier General Mike McDaniel today announced an 10-member panel that will serve as the Community Review Team (CRT) assembled at the request of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero to independently review the Board of Water of Light's (BWL) planning, preparedness, response, and recovery from the December 2013 ice storm, which left tens of thousands of customers without power for extended periods of time.

McDaniel said that all the Review Team members were selected based on emails received and that all are BWL customers. His criteria for selection included independence, geographic distribution, and diversity of expertise. Nearly 85 citizens from the region submitted resumes and letters of interest to the CRT, and the ten who were selected were solely picked by McDaniel. "I am deeply gratified by the strong community response to my request for assistance," McDaniel said. "I hope that all of those whom I was unable to select will continue to support this review of BWL by the community by sending their suggestions to the same email address - lansingcrt@gmail.com - or by attending public hearings we will schedule for the month of February."

"All of the individuals I have selected to formally serve on the panel are BWL customers who have pledged to remain objective as we conduct our comprehensive analysis," McDaniel continued. "We're pleased to tap into the collective expertise of our board members over the course of the next two months, all of whom reside in BWL's diverse coverage areas."

Voting members of the CRT board include:

City of East Lansing

- Mike McDaniel, Cooley Law School professor, former homeland security advisor for the state of Michigan and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, retired Michigan National Guard Brigadier General, CRT chair.
- Beverly Baten, former member of the East Lansing City Council from 1997 to 2008
- Douglas Jester, former East Lansing Mayor and City Council member. Jester currently serves a principal with 5 Lakes Energy LLC, a policy consulting firm focused on clean and alternative energy.

Meridian Township

- Jerry Richards, former Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Township. Richards currently works for the Mannik & Smith Group, an engineering and environmental services firm with offices in Lansing.

Delta Township

- Darnell Earley, Emergency Manager, City of Flint; former city manager for the cities of Saginaw and Flint.
- Bill Long, former Chairperson of the Michigan Public Service Commission and former Director of the Michigan Department of Labor.

City of Lansing

- Larry Bass, President and CEO of Friedland Industries, Inc., a Lansing-based waste management and recycling company; Chair Emeritus, Sparrow Health Systems.
- Kyle Bowman, Lieutenant, Michigan State Police; adjunct professor of Homeland Security, Siena Heights University.
- Patricia Spitzley, Deputy Redevelopment Manager for RACER Trust, a national organization specializing in property rehabilitation and outreach in automotive industry communities in 14 states.
- Joan Nelson, Director of the Allen Neighborhood Center on Lansing's East Side and 40-year resident of Lansing.

In addition, McDaniel is being assisted by an all-volunteer executive staff who will work to ensure the CRT completes its work on schedule, while informing stakeholders and the general public on the team's progress. The staff includes:

- Mark Burton, current Executive Director of the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education, a statewide education advocacy group and former Chief of Staff to State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, will serve as the chief of McDaniel's executive staff.

- TJ Bucholz, former communications executive for Governors John Engler and Jennifer Granholm and current senior director of public affairs for Lambert, Edwards & Associates - a statewide public relations firm, will advise McDaniel on communications best practices and serve as chief spokesperson for the CRT.

- Jeff Pillon, emergency management coordinator for the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth during the 2003 blackout, will advise McDaniel on utility and emergency response and recovery and mitigation of future vulnerabilities.

- Rhonda Grant, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Grant Consulting Group, a government relations firm with locations in Lansing and Washington, D.C., will serve as legislative advisor.

- Julie Secontine, Director of Risk Management for Oakland County, will advise McDaniel on issues related to infrastructure and preparedness.

The CRT also will be tapping additional subject matter experts across the region in the next 60 days to assist the team's work, including individuals with backgrounds in utilities management, customer service, communications, emergency response, infrastructure, and preparedness.

To collect input from the public, the CRT will hold February community forums in three locations: the city of Lansing, the city of East Lansing, and Delta Township. Those community forums will be announced later this week in order to give the community as much advance notice as possible.