Retired U.S. Army Colonel Bernard Lindstrom will take the helm at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority on a temporary basis. The PWSA board named Lindstrom its interim executive director at a special meeting Thursday after its initial choice for a permanent director withdrew his name from consideration in July.
Lindstrom comes to the Authority after 25 years in the U.S. Army. He most recently served as Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh District from 2013 before retiring in July. His initial contract with PWSA will last through March 12.
The retired colonel takes over an agency dealing with multiple issues. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection cited the Authority earlier this year over an unauthorized switch of corrosion control chemicals used to treat its pipes. DEP has also asked PWSA to replace lead service lines after a recent round of tests showed elevated levels of the toxic metal in some customers’ homes.
Authority Board President Alex Thomson says Lindstrom brings a track record to PWSA that board members hope can steer the agency that serves about 300,000 Pittsburgh-area customers in the right direction.
“I think the capabilities he brings managing people, as well as his experience running large capital improvement projects, are going to be keys to his for his ability to effectively run the organization,” Thomson said.
The agency had selected K. Charles Griffin in July to permanently replace outgoing acting director David Donahoe, whose six-month appointment ended August 31. Griffin, however, withdrew his name after revelations he had not properly disclosed the nature of his departure from a previous employer in South Carolina.
The appointment comes the same day Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he had formed a task force to study ways to improve the Authority’s management structure.
Robert Weimer, PWSA’s director of engineering and construction, will serve as acting director until Lindstrom formally takes over September 12.