George Hawkins

George Hawkins
The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority board has plucked its new general manager from the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

George Hawkins, who had headed the District Department of the Environment, was introduced today as WASA’s new general manager, replacing Jerry N. Johnson, who was ousted, by many accounts, at Fenty’s bidding.

Plenty has been written and said about WASA’s performance since the 2004 lead-pipe drama and Johnson’s role in that. Hawkins comes in, however, as one of the most well-respected and well-liked members of Fenty’s administration.

A New Jersey Cleveland native, Hawkins is trained as a lawyer, though he’d spent years as an EPA administrator and at environmental nonprofits in New Jersey before taking the Fenty job.

Here, Hawkins has led numerous efforts on energy and environmental issues, expanding the size, range, and influence of the office. He established the Mayor’s Green Summer Job Corps, the jewel of the summer jobs program (not to be confused with the, er, less rigorous Mayor’s Conservation Corps—-also a DDOE operation). (He also has fabulous hair.)

The decision also marks yet another move that solidifies Fenty’s influence over a semi-autonomous governmental body. The WASA board, which includes representatives from both the city and suburban jurisdictions (Hawkins, in fact, was an alternate member), has been pocked by some turf strife in recent years.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery