Great Lakes Water Authority CEO Sue McCormick submits resignation

Sue McCormick formally resigns following major flooding

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DETROITGreat Lakes Water Authority CEO Sue McCormick has formally submitted her resignation following major flooding issues across the area.

McCormick has led the GLWA since its inception on Jan. 1, 2016. Her resignation was submitted at Wednesday’s board meeting.

“For the past year and a half or so, I have been contemplating my retirement,” McCormick said. “However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I postponed making this decision because of the challenges placed in front of this organization. Now, as we approach our reconstitution and a return to the office environment this fall by those who have been working on flexible work arrangement and given all that we have accomplished the first five years of this organization, I believe the time is right.”

GLWA’s Board of Directors are discussing the process of appointing an interim CEO, as well as conducting a national search to permanently fill the position.

The board chair will work with McCormick between now and the next meeting on Aug. 11 to finalize the details of her departure.

“Under Sue’s leadership, GLWA has been committed to serving the communities of southeast Michigan with a keen focus on optimizing the operations of the regional system and increasing collaboration and partnership with our member partners,” GLWA Board Chairman John Zech said. “GLWA has made massive infrastructure improvements while at the same time improving water quality and keeping affordability at the forefront. We wish her well in her retirement.”

GLWA officials said they will aim to find a balance between environmental protection and the cost and consequence to homeowners due to recent flooding.

“I am extremely proud of the many accomplishments that we have made during the first five years of GLWA’s operations,” McCormick said. “It has been an incredible opportunity to work with our member partner communities to create a truly collaborative and lasting partnership that will serve the region for decades to come. GLWA has an amazing team that has invested so much of themselves in service to each other and this region. I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and I look forward to observing what the future holds for GLWA as it builds upon the strong foundation we created in the first five years of GLWA’s operation.”

Here is a statement from attorney Ven Johnson, who is representing nearly 400 Wayne County flood victims in a class action lawsuit against the GLWA:

The timing of Sue McCormick’s resignation clearly points to an acknowledgment of fault for the June 26 floods in metro Detroit. Her departure provides an opportunity for GLWA to hire a true expert who will be effective in managing the existing infrastructure and push for real investment and change. We hope and encourage the GLWA to refer this investigation out so it may be truly independent and develop a course of action on how they plan to move forward to ensure this never happens again. Local residents, many of whom have been battling flooding for years, deserve better.”

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.