Steve Zurn announced this week he will retire as general manager of Glendale Water and Power on Dec. 31, marking the second retirement of a prominent city administrator this fall.
The departure of Zurn, who has been with the city for more than 34 years, follows longtime City Manager Yasmin Beers’ October exit. The city’s plan for possibly appointing an interim GWP leader and searching for Zurn’s successor was not immediately clear.
The city named Zurn as the head of the utility in 2012, after he’d served as the interim general manager for around five months. At that time, he also was the city’s public works director, a job he started in 2003 and held through 2014.
His prior roles with the Public Works Department included budget officer, project manager, special project liaison and assistant director/chief administrative officer.
Under Zurn’s leadership, GWP earned a number of accolades and recognition as a full-service power and water agency, receiving a Smart Energy Provider designation and Community Service Award from the American Public Power Association and an efficiency award from the California Municipal Utilities Association. The agency also has continued to adopt a variety of “clean energy” programs by purchasing battery storage for solar energy and developing a plan to repurpose the Grayson Power Plant for renewable energy generation and storage.
Zurn will leave his post after successfully lobbying for adoption of one of his pet projects: a ban on the sale of helium-inflated Mylar balloons in town. Zurn has frequently decried the havoc he says the balloons wreak on the city’s power systems and made a point to highlight balloon-related outages and damage to the City Council.
The city also has contended with a lawsuit filed this year by a former GWP manager who has claimed she was fired after raising concerns about filing a report on the city’s greenhouse gas emissions she said was fraudulent.
Zurn earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA and his master’s degree in public administration from Cal State Long Beach.