A view of the meeting room, as well as DWSD’s Administrative Specialist Marian King-Bell, General Counsel Debra Pospiech and Procurement Manager Marqaicha Welch.
The board asks Marqaicha Welch, DWSD procurement manager, to report on the contracts up for vote.

Detroit Board of Water Commissioners committee meetings, September 2022 

Commissioners and DWSD General Counsel Debra Pospiech said the department has not heard of any issues from customers applying to the fixed-rate Lifeline Plan. A commissioner said every applicant has been accepted. Applications are being handled by Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, and this commissioner said the process is monitored by DWSD’s finance department.

“I wish I had a lot of confidence in Wayne Metro, but I don’t.”
— Mary Blackmon, BOWC vice chairperson, referring to Wayne Metro’s role in processing Lifeline Plan applications.

The department’s call center received more than 57,000 calls last month, according to a monthly report from Matthew Phillips, DWSD customer service officer. This is up from 49,000 calls in July. Since June, calls were answered within 11 minutes on average. 

The department has 24 new hires, including 18 field technicians, according to Patricia Thornhill, its organizational development director. However DWSD Director Gary Brown said they’ve lost many job candidates — 15 last month — who retract their applications while waiting for drug test results. In the meanwhile, Thornhill said the department is considering hiring more employees than it needs to anticipate turnover. 

DWSD customer service manager Kimberly Crowell said the department will start calling Lifeline Plan customers if they exceed their monthly usage threshold, as well as customers who will be visited by contractors performing meter upgrades. DWSD will use IBM Watson for these calls. 

Hydrate Detroit is still organizing a summit on water affordability with city officials, said the nonprofit’s chief director Meeko Williams. 

Commissioners approved a contract with the Utility Workers Union of America. Seven DWSD employees are Utility Workers members. 

Table of Contents


The Finance, Customer Service and Human Resources/Organizational Development committee meetings were live-blogged on Mastodon and Twitter for Detroit Documenters.

Documents available on Documenters.org, including the meeting agenda and more documentation by Princess B.

The agency’s last meeting on Aug. 17 was documented by Paul Warner and Sonja Stuckey. The next meeting on Sept. 21 was documented by Alex Klaus and Shaheda Jenkins.

Visit the agency’s website for official information.


Archived pages

Mastodon posts and the pages for the Finance, Customer Service and Human Resources/Organizational Development committee meetings are archived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.


The actual start of the meeting (1:04 p.m.) can be heard four minutes into the recording. 


Screenshots of online meeting. Due to limited resources, image descriptions are provided on request — contact me.


Page published Dec. 19, 2022.

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All original content in this documentation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Share and republish to everyone, freely.