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Mayor picks new DWP commissioner

May 17, 2009 |  5:41 pm

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has nominated Thomas S. Sayles, an appointee at the city's Industrial Development Authority, to fill a seat on the five-member commission that oversees the Department of Water and Power.
Sayles, 58, was recently hired as USC's vice president of government and community relations. Over the last decade, he has worked as an executive for Sempra Energy and, more recently, for Rentech, a Los Angeles-based alternative fuels company, according to city records.
A resident of Century City, Sayles will fill a DWP board seat vacated by Wally Knox, who left to become deputy executive director of external relations for the Port of Los Angeles. That hire was thrown into question last week after the City Council rejected a request from the mayor to create a new $205,000 position for Knox.
Council members said the hiring proposal is inappropriate at a time when the city is discussing the layoffs of hundreds of city workers.

--David Zahniser