The Franklin PUD’s new general manager is no stranger to the Pasco-based utility.
Tim Nies, the PUD’s director of administrative services and auditor, was chosen Tuesday to lead the agency.
He is expected to be formally named March 24, following a state law that requires the selection be approved by resolution over two meetings. Nies would then start in his new position May 4.
The PUD also will retain the services of retiring General Manager Ed Brost.
In November Brost, who has been with the PUD since May 2006, announced last May plans to retire after helping with the transition to a new manager. He is not drawing a pension for his work at the PUD.
Brost has agreed to stay on as director of special projects for a few months and may come back as needed for other projects, said Commissioner Roger Wright.
Nies, who is a certified public accountant, rose to the top of 17 candidates from around the Northwest to replace Brost. The job pays $170,000 a year.
The applicants were well qualified, but the commissioners found themselves comparing the other candidates to Nies, said Wright.
“He’s the guy who can lead the organization for the next 10 years,” he said.
Brost has said that the focus of the PUD should be on rates, reliability and relationships — all important topics to the commissioners, Wright said.
Nies has played a role in keeping rates stable and low, he said. He has been responsible for the budget for a decade, becoming very good at predicting costs and managing rates, Wright said. He’s also done an excellent job controlling costs to keep the utility under budget.
He has been responsible for the PUD’s risk management group and been a leader, which promotes reliability, Wright said.
“Tim knows the PUD. He’s an absolute expert in what he does,” said Commissioner Stuart Nelson. “People under him think the world of him. He’s a hard worker.”
Nies has worked in the accounting and finance industry for 22 years. His role at Franklin PUD for 11 years includes management of the accounting, information technology, broadband, customer service and meter reading departments. His background includes public accounting and audit experience examining financial statements for a variety of municipal corporations.
Nies shows promise for building relationships for the PUD in the Northwest, Wright said. He’s shown he can get along well with local community groups and industry organizations in the state and Northwest, he said.
The field of candidates was narrowed to five for phone interviews, and Nies and a second candidate emerged as the leaders, Nelson said. The other finalist for the job would have had to take a pay cut.
Stuart said he knew the PUD would face no personnel problems and would continue it good relationship with the Benton PUD under Nies.
Nies said the PUD has been blessed with good people at a time the power industry is changing and facing many challenges. Achieving success depends on good staff, he said.
The PUD is facing significant decisions on power purchases in the next few years, Wright said. It also is becoming more reliant on technology and faces cybersecurity challenges, Nies said.
He plans no immediate changes, wanting to spend some time observing and learning and then move forward, he said.