Mayor Rahm Emanuel today named Barrett Murphy as the new Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) and will submit his nomination for City Council approval. Murphy will replace Thomas H. Powers, P.E., who has served as Commissioner since 2010 and is stepping down to pursue other professional endeavors. Powers originally planned on leaving nearly a year ago, but agreed to stay on longer at the Mayor’s request to ensure a smooth transition.
“Over the last five years, Tom has overseen an historic investment in Chicago’s infrastructure that has helped to build a better Chicago, and I thank him for his service to the City,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Moving forward, Barrett Murphy’s vast knowledge of and experience within the Department make him the best choice for the job as we continue to implement our 10-year Capital Improvement Program.”
Under Commissioner Powers’ tenure, 320 miles of water main have been replaced, 77 miles of sewer main have been replaced and 198 miles of existing sewer has been lined to date under Mayor Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program. Additionally, 72,176 water meters have been installed in Chicago homes, saving residents money and promoting water conservation.
Murphy is currently First Deputy Commissioner of DWM, where he oversees the day to day operations of a Department that manages two water treatment plants and 12 pumping stations; employs more than 2,200 people; more than 100 contractors; and has a budget of approximately one billion dollars. He has served in various roles within the Department since 2004, during which he has worked on a variety of initiatives to improve customer service and implement efficiencies that have saved the Department millions of dollars.
“Tom Powers has been an exceptional leader at the Department and has fostered some of the best working relationships I’ve ever encountered in my career,” said Murphy. “While Tom will be sorely missed, I am humbled by the Mayor’s confidence in me and look forward to continuing to serve the City as the Department continues to invest in our water infrastructure while providing some of the cleanest, best tasting water in the country.”
Murphy has more than 25 years of experience working in both government and the private sector in the areas of public policy, operations, technology and communications. He has previously worked for the Chicago Department of Aviation, the Chicago Mayor’s Office, an internet start-up, a local systems integrator and a large multi-national corporation. Murphy is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine; he and his wife, Lynn, have three children.
Julie Hernandez-Tomlin, currently DWM’s Managing Deputy, will replace Murphy as the First Deputy Commissioner. Marisol Santiago, currently DWM’s Director of Administration, will replace Hernandez-Tomlin as the Department’s Managing Deputy.
Murphy’s appointment is subject to City Council approval. He will begin in an interim capacity on May 1.