By The North American Post Staff
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced last Thursday that he has appointed Mami Hara for the Director of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).
Hara, once confirmed by Seattle City Council, will replace Ray Hoffman, SPU Director since 2009, who retired last week. Hara is expected to start Sept. 1 to guide the three lines of business that provide efficient and forward-looking utility services in Seattle: solid waste and sewage and drainage for Seattle residents and businesses and drinking water for the 1.3 million regional customers both in Seattle and the 26 municipalities and special water districts also served by SPU. Her annual salary will be $223,500.
“Seattle Public Utilities is one of the most progressive and respected utilities in the nation and I am honored to join the team,” Hara said. “I look forward to continuing and expanding the City’s traditions of modeling sustainable water management practices; delivering safe, reliable, and affordable utility services; and enhancing quality of life through strategic infrastructure management.”
According to the city, Hara is the first person from her family to be born in the United States. Her parents emigrated from Japan in the early 1960s to seek their interest in the art culture in the states through the Eisenhower’s Fine Arts Commission as part of a cultural exchange.
The city press release states that Hara is an experienced utility executive and planner.
She has served for five years as Chief of Staff at Philadelphia Water, a 2,000-person utility serving more than two million customers across 200 square miles, with a $700 million annual operating budget and a $6 billion Capital Improvement Program.
Hara is currently the network coordinator of a practitioner network that supports communities seeking to expand green storm water infrastructure programs.
While in Philadelphia, she helped implement national models that Seattle aspires to today. “Green City, Clean Waters” is the nation’s most ambitious green infrastructure program and its successes are helping to define national practice. Philadelphia is creating living landscapes to reduce the storm water pollution and to enhance quality of life.
Seattle has long been a leader in this field and her experience will help continue defining the best practice, according to the press release.
“Mami brings a strong foundation of public and private sector leadership to the City, along with a commitment to advancing equitable and sustainable cities through collaboration and thoughtful infrastructure investment,” Mayor Murray said. “Her cross-sector experience will allow for a holistic view of our utilities and the needs of the 1.3 million regional customers both in Seattle and the 26 municipalities served by SPU.”