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Texas Water and Electric Supplier LCRA Names New Boss

The LCRA leases the Tom Miller Dam from the City of Austin.
Photo by Photography JW
The LCRA leases the Tom Miller Dam from the City of Austin.

The board of the Lower Colorado River Authority wasted no time in naming a long-time staffer to take over as the organization's general manager, following the resignation of Tom Mason (pictured) a week ago.

Rebecca Motal, 61, took her first job with the LCRA, a enormous Central Texas wholesale electricity and water supplier, in 1972, and she served most recently as the executive manager of external affairs. She has not worked at the LCRA continuously over the decades; at one point she served as the chairwoman of the Travis County Republican Party.

“Becky Motal has a thorough understanding of a very complex organization, solid relationships with appointed and elected leaders from across our region and a true passion for public service,” LCRA Board Chairman Tim Timmerman said in a statement issued shortly after the LCRA board unanimously approved her appointment. “She is a person with a keen intellect, solid values and clear vision. She understands the issues facing LCRA and she understands the culture.”

Said Motal in a statement: “My career has been one of public service, and I am honored to be asked to lead such an incredibly dedicated staff of public servants who work every day to improve the quality of life of the people of Texas."

Motal's swift appointment is unlikely to please some state lawmakers. 

In an interview last week, State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said that he, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, and Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, would push for a thorough search for a replacement for Mason. "The three senators are requesting that this be a very extensive search," Fraser said, adding that ultimately he hoped to find someone "from the outside that's not connected to the LCRA."

Kate Galbraith reported on clean energy for The New York Times from 2008 to 2009, serving as the lead writer for the Times' Green blog. She began her career at The Economist in 2000 and spent 2005 to 2007 in Austin as the magazine's Southwest correspondent. A Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University from 2007 to 2008, she has an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and a master's degree from the London School of Economics.
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