Mayor fires head of Atlanta Watershed Department

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has fired the Commissioner of the city's Department of Watershed Management. Sources told FOX 5's Morse Diggs that Jo Ann Macrina was dismissed on Friday. The firing was confirmed in a statement from the city Saturday.

Macrina came to Atlanta from DeKalb County, where she had served as deputy director of the county's watershed management agency.

Reed gave no reason for Macrina's removal from her position. 

Here is the statement released by the Mayor's office Saturday:

The City of Atlanta announced today that Jo Ann Macrina’s tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Watershed Management has ended. William Johnson, the City’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer, will serve as interim Commissioner.

“I would like to thank JoAnn Macrina for her work on behalf of the residents of Atlanta and I wish her well moving forward in her career," said Mayor Reed. "The Department of Watershed Management provides critical services to Atlanta residents and businesses, and I will ensure that it has effective leadership who will deliver operational excellence." 

William Johnson joined the Reed Administration as Deputy Chief Operating Officer this month. Johnson brings more than 20 years of experience in infrastructure management and emergency response to the position. He previously served as the Director of the Department of Transportation for the City of Baltimore, where he managed engineering and permitting services for the City. He also managed city-wide snow and weather emergency operations.

Prior to his service in Baltimore, Johnson held a key leadership role as Prime Contractor to the State of Florida Department of Transportation. In this role, he assisted local governments and private non-profits in developing disaster plans, performing damage assessments and developing projects and funding sources for public facilities, infrastructure and utilities damaged by natural disasters. 

Throughout his career, Johnson has developed and managed budgets in excess of $400 million, reduced customer complaints to state and local agencies to achieve a 96 percent customer satisfaction rate, managed municipal waste collection operations for a population of 1.5 million, and assisted with reverse osmosis/carbon filter tertiary and secondary treatment facility upgrades. 

Johnson holds an M.S. in Geological Engineering from the University of Missouri and a bachelor's in Engineering from the University of Mississippi.

“I am pleased to welcome William Johnson to our senior team,” said Mayor Reed. “I am confident that his leadership and operating experience in the public and private sectors will enhance our Administration's focus on operational efficiency and customer service."

Controversy has surrounded Macrina's 5-year tenure, with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of city materials and equipment missing or stolen over the past few years.

The forced searches of city workers landing the city in a lawsuit, which left taxpayers footing the bill in a settlement.

Plenty of eyebrows were raised over spending such as the plan for high pay raises and a recently-uncovered work trip to Abu Dhabi.  

In February, citizens raised safety concerns over a sewage spill at the playground and creek Memorial Park, causing children to get sick.