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Rocky names chief of public utilities

Jeffry Niermeyer has been appointed by Mayor Rocky Anderson as Salt Lake City's new director of public utilities, replacing longtime director LeRoy W. Hooton Jr.

The move is subject to the consent of the Salt Lake City Council.

Hooton worked for Salt Lake City for 49 years — including 28 years as director of public utilities.

"LeRoy's service and dedication to Salt Lake City has been tremendous, historic and invaluable to all city residents," Anderson said. "Future generations will feel greatly indebted to LeRoy for his enormous contributions to creating a healthy, sustainable city."

In 1983, Hooton implemented a comprehensive watershed protection plan, including the Canyon Watershed master plan, which was approved by the City Council in 1988 and updated in '98.

In 2004, the department strengthened its watershed protection efforts by initiating the Keep It Pure Campaign, an educational and communitywide effort focusing on preserving valuable watershed lands and improving water quality.

Under Hooton's leadership in 1982, the public utilities department implemented the city's wastewater facilities plan, which enabled the city to meet its obligations under the Clean Water Act while keeping sewer rates among the lowest in the nation.

Hooton's leadership also resulted in securing substantial additional water supplies and directing the expenditure of over $408 million in capital improvements, both of which will ensure Salt Lake City residents have firm supplies of this resource at least until 2025.

Under the leadership of Hooton and Anderson, Salt Lake City reduced its water consumption nearly 15 percent between 2000 and 2006.

Niermeyer has more than 29 years of experience in water resources management in Utah and Alaska. He has been with Salt Lake City for 16 years, including 10 as deputy director of public utilities.