BWL Exec Will Get $250,000 to Leave

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

Sandy Novick is leaving his job as general manager of the Board of Water and Light with a hefty sum in tow, ultimately paid for by the utility's customers.

"A $250,000 payment to Mr. Novick. There are substantial other amounts but those amounts he earned ... just as any other employee gets," BWL Board Commissioner Ron Callen told News 10.

Those "other" amounts total $123,000 according to BWL spokesman Mark Nixon, meaning Novick will walk away with nearly $375,000.

His departure comes after pressure from the mayor and a majority of the BWL board. There were allegations of employee phonetapping and a survey from one employee union claiming an overwhelming lack of confidence in Novick's leadership.

Board Chair Robin Smith says the move was necessary because "we wanted to be able to move forward with new leadership."

Still, the mayor told the Lansing State Journal the severance amount was excessive.

Board member Callen is among the minority that voted to keep Novick.

"The mayor complained that it's too much money. Well, he engineered this," Callen said Saturday.

He says despite the scandals and the survey Novick was doing a good job. Callen says the general manager was staying in line with the 14 points for improvement the board had outlined.

"He reported to us on all 14. He had accomplished 12. Number 13 was on the way," Callen said.

Although it's not the outcome he says he wanted, Callen says the large severance was necessary to get both sides to agree and to prevent lawsuits. Still, he says if Novick was allowed to stay on at BWL, there would have been no such expense for ratepayers.

"I'm unhappy with the results but it's all over," Callen said.

Now a split board has to come back together to find a new, permanent manager: A process Callen fears will be contentious.


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