Philly’s next water commissioner wants to keep your H2O clean, green and affordable

Randy Hayman will take over as Philadelphia's water commissioner in June. (City of Philadelphia)

Randy Hayman will take over as Philadelphia's water commissioner in June. (City of Philadelphia)

This article originally appeared on PlanPhilly.

Philadelphia’s next water commissioner Randy E. Hayman will enter City Hall with four lofty goals on his to-do list, Mayor Jim Kenney’s incoming appointee said in an email to PlanPhilly.

The environmental lawyer’s top priorities include the obvious — improving conditions for the 2,000 employees, 3,200 miles of water mains, 3,700 miles of sewers, and 25,000 fire hydrants that will be under his control.

But in an email he sent hours after Kenney announced his appointment, Hayman, a partner at a Washington D.C. firm, shared ambitions that suggest a renewed focus on customer service for a nationally renowned department that has struggled to gain trust locally.

The Department that he will take over on June 24 tests Philly’s wooder for nearly 100 compounds daily, and the H20 outperforms national standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to departmental data.  Yet, 40% of Philadelphians choose bottled water over the tap. Meanwhile, city residents and businesses have seen their water rates increase by 70% since 2007.

Hayman said that his top goals include providing “responsive customer service, which includes reaching out to every area of our community” and maintaining “a rate structure that meets the utility’s fiscal needs while remaining fair and equitable; and affordable.”

Other goals include conducting “business in a transparent and reliable manner; and “consistently serving as fiscally responsible stewards of the public coffers,” the incoming water czar said.

Hayman a partner at Beveridge and Diamond, an environmental law firm based in Washington, D.C., has worked on municipal water issues for more than 15 years. Before joining the firm, he served as general counsel for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. He also worked as general counsel for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District from 2000 to 2010.

“My roots in the water and wastewater arena run deep,” Hayman said. “My diverse background in both the private and public sectors allows me to think strategically when examining both legal and business scenarios.  I am able to examine corporate environmental issues from a business position with a panoramic legal perspective.

Hayman earned a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, and attended high school at the John Burroughs School in St. Louis. He has been recognized as a minority business leader by the Washington and St. Louis Business Journals and co-chairs the American Bar Association’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

Hayman lacks Philly roots but at least one piece of his background should help him settle in. “I grew up cheering for the 76ers,” he said.

The new commissioner will have an annual salary of $200,000, according to city’s spokeswoman Kelly Cofrancisco, and was hired through a competitive national search conducted by the firm Korn Ferry.

At a recent press conference, environmental advocates called on the city to select a commissioner who would prioritize the development of green stormwater infrastructure — part of the city’s 25-year plan to reduce pollution in the waterways.

On Monday, the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia welcomed Hayman’s nomination.

“Green Stormwater Infrastructure provides economic, social and environmental benefits to all Philadelphians – we hope that these values will be exemplified through Commissioner Hayman’s leadership,” SBN’s executive director Anna Shipp said in a press release.

Hayman will replace former commissioner Debra McCarty, who retired in April after 37 years with the city.

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