Issues and Interests

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PUD News

Chelan PUD commissioners extend General Manager's contract

by Suzanne Hartman | Jul 24, 2017
Commissioners cited his accomplishments with the District’s Strategic Plan and proven ability to represent PUD interests regionally and nationally

Acting a year ahead of General Manager Steve Wright’s five-year contract end, Chelan PUD Commissioners today unanimously approved a new three-year contract that would run from Sept. 3, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2021. Wright's base annual salary of $345,547 was not adjusted under the new contract.  A retention clause was added providing a 1% growing to 5% annual retention payment for each year Wright remains with the District beginning at the end of 2017.

Commission President Randy Smith stated, “Since we started our strategic planning process in late 2014, we have been operating under the overriding theme of Doing the best for the most for the longest period of time. Leading us in that effort has been our General Manager, Steve Wright. He guided us through a highly successful planning process that highlights the PUD’s efforts to reach out and engage all customer-owners with openness and transparency.  The PUD and the community have benefited greatly from his vision, strategy and tireless efforts on behalf of the utility’s customer owners.”

Smith went on to add, “Steve Wright’s legacy at Chelan PUD will be his commitment to an open and transparent dialogue with the District’s customer-owners, employees and many business partners about utility priorities.  Steve's vast industry experience and focus on public service best positions us to meet our mission of enhancing the quality of life in Chelan County.  The Board was eager to secure Steve’s continued leadership.”

During his time at Chelan PUD, Wright has led the utility through an extensive planning effort that resulted in creation of the 2015-2019 strategic plan – a blueprint for guiding District operations. The strategic plan’s top objectives are the reinvestment in the PUD’s value-creating core assets and people; reducing debt; and initiation of the Public Power Benefit program including restarting the fiber expansion program.

PUD Commission Vice President Garry Arseneault commented, “The PUD is heavily impacted by a marketing/regulatory/legislative environment external to Chelan County.  Steve Wright has the proven knowledge and relationships to advance the interests of Chelan PUD customer-owners at the state, regional and national level.  He also has a proven commitment to focusing our decisions on our highest priority of providing value to our customer-owners.  This contract extension will provide the opportunity for Steve to lead us through another round of a five-year strategic plan."

Wright began his tenure as the District’s General Manager in September 2013. He previously served 32 years in a number of positions at the Bonneville Power Administration, the last 12 years as Administrator/CEO of the Portland-based regional federal power marketing agency.

Wright expressed appreciation for the Commissioners’ confidence in his leadership: “My family and I have enjoyed getting to know people and becoming a part of the Chelan community.  It has been an honor and a pleasure to work at a world class utility that is has such a dedicated, hard-working staff.  I'm appreciative of the Board's faith in me and am committed to giving my best effort every day."