Lansing City Council Moves On BWL Changes - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Lansing City Council Moves On BWL Changes

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(WLNS) - Just a few days after Mayor Virg Bernero proposed amending the city charter to expand his executive authority over the Lansing Board of Water and Light during emergencies City Council takes a step closer to making that proposal a reality.

Mayor Bernero explains why he is pushing for a change. "Currently, under our charter, the mayor has the authority over the police and fire, and all city personnel. It doesn't include the Board of Water and Light."

But a new proposal could change change that. "It requires a charter change. I think we should move forward with that, as well as the charter amendment, again recommended by the general and the public service commission to give the mayor kind of extraordinary, extra executive powers over the board during states of emergency," explained the mayor.

Mayor Bernero proposed the change on Friday, a change prompted by the December ice storm and problems in the aftermath.  Monday night City Council agreed to take the issue up for a vote next month.

"The direct lines of the mayor needing to come to council and to get approval and there's a chain of command that the president needs to be immediately notified, it is much different, and a lot stronger, and certainly can invoke the emergency status that we needed or we could need in future emergencies," said Council president A'Lynne Boles. "That does not come from a Peter Lark. That comes from the mayor and/or the president of the Lansing City Council."

BWL CEO Peter Lark was at Monday night's council meeting so we asked him about the proposed changes.

Reporter: "Mr. Lark, just could you give a yes or no. Do you support the resolutions, yes or no?."

Peter Lark: "I think it's important that customers know that the BWL is an entirely different company. And, in fact, customers will be able to get their power back more quickly than ever."

And the bottom line is that's what most customers care about. But the mayor and city council officials say this amendment will make it even easier for that to happen.

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