Chief Financial Officer Jeff Peltola was on vacation when he got a call to attend a
special Wednesday morning meeting of top DWP officials.
When he got to the DWP headquarters, he was told to go see Chief Operating Officer Raman Raj, the No. 2 to Austin Beutner and one of the most controversial figures ever to hold a top job in the nation’s largest municipal utility.
It wasn’t a good meeting for Peltola, who for months has been rumored to have his head on the chopping block for refusing to tell the mayor and his staff what they wanted to hear.
After meeting with Raj, Peltola called his top people into a conference room and announced he was being “reassigned”;
and that Mario Ignacio, his underling. would be interim CFO. Peltola then packed up his stuff and went back to enjoying his vacation.
Here’s what Raj told the staff in a memo headlined “CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER BULLETIN”
“Jeffery l. Peltola has stepped down from his position as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He is doing so for health reasons and his resignation as CFO has been accepted. Jeff has been a valued member of our senior management team for the last 18 months and it has been a pleasure working with him.
“Mr. Peltola will serve as manager of the Power System’s External Division, an area where major decisions are being made on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s long-term procurement of renewable energy projects and management of major plants (Intermountain Power Plant, Navajo, Mojave, and Palo Verde).among others. This requires a deep knowledge of the issues as well as business and financial expertise which Jeff brings to the table.”
In other words, Peltola was demoted because of what in the heyday of the Soviet Union’s Politburo was known as the “Russian Flu.” He’s lucky he wasn’t killed, sent to the gulag or booted out entirely.
Now the word coming out of the DWP Kremlin is that Interim GM Austin Beutner will replace Peltola as CFO with Brett Messing, who is listed as “senior managing partner” for “economic and business policy” under Beutner in his other life as first deputy mayor or for all intents and purposes de facto of mayor of Los Angeles.
Messing, a 44-year-old avid skier and contributor of $13,000 to Jerry Brown’s campaign for governor, comes out of the world of high finance, including a stint as co-head of Goldman Sachs’ restricted equities group.
Googling him, you will find he was a partner in Oscar Capital Management LLC, a registered investment adviser based in New York and Los Angeles with approximately $1 billion in assets. He began his career with the private client services division of Goldman Sachs and from 1997 to 1999 was a senior vice president at Merrill Lynch in charge of investing more than $3 billion in assets. He later became CEO of InterPacket Networks, which he sold to American Tower Corp. in December 2000.
Welcome to the DWP Monkey House, Mr. Messing!