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2 trustees interested in top LIPA job, say sources

LIPA chief executive John McMahon announced his resignation

LIPA chief executive John McMahon announced his resignation on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, after two years of running the embattled utility. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Two LIPA trustees have expressed interest in filling the chief executive position at the authority once existing CEO John McMahon steps down from the post at the end of August, people familiar with the process said.

Others mentioned as possible candidates include a LIPA insider and a state official.

McMahon's pending departure, announced last week, could provide an opportunity for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration to install a replacement who will advocate the state's new energy vision, which proposes using market-based green energy solutions to reduce demand and negate the need to build new plants or power lines.

Several people close to LIPA said Mark Fischl, a LIPA trustee with a background in commercial real estate who has become a key backer of the state's Reforming the Energy Vision platform, has offered himself for the job. Fischl, a close friend of former secretary to the governor Larry Schwartz, has been on the LIPA board since January 2014.

Fischl has become a vocal proponent of what he has termed "demand destruction," using innovate market alternatives to reduce peak electric demand, which is in line with the state's vision.

LIPA spokesman Sid Nathan declined to comment on the CEO appointment, which is handled by the LIPA board. The governor's office has always had a strong say in the appointment.

Another LIPA trustee, Matthew Cordaro, formerly senior vice president of the Long Island Lighting Co., Wednesday expressed interest in the position. "On the basis of my experience, I think I should be considered a candidate, at least on an interim basis," he said.

Cordaro said he supports the new state energy vision and would bring 48 years of utility experience to the job, including stints as chief of the Midwest Independent System Operator and Nashville Electric Service. He previously served as chairman of the Suffolk Legislature's LIPA Oversight Committee.

When he announced his resignation, McMahon said he believed the authority could look internally as well as externally for a new CEO. If it does the former, LIPA would likely look to Tom Falcone, the authority's chief financial officer, observers said.

Falcone, who has become a visible face for LIPA at public hearings, Wall Street conferences and the LIPA rate-request proceeding, joined the authority in January 2014, after a long stint at Morgan Stanley.

Another name mentioned among possible candidates for the job is Julia Bovey, the director of the Long Island office of the Department of Public Service. Bovey, a champion of the state's new energy vision, has working relationships with LIPA and PSEG as head of the utility watchdog's Long Island office. DPS spokesman James Denn declined to comment.

She formerly held positions at First Wind, a wind-energy development company; the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group; and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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