Long Island Power Name John D. McMahon COO

The Long Island Power Authority named former Consolidated Edison Inc. executive John D. McMahon as chief operating officer, filling an opening created after the agency was criticized for its Hurricane Sandy response.

During a special session today, trustees voted 8-1 to approve McMahon to replace Mike Taunton, who has served in the top operating role of the state-owned utility on a temporary basis, the Uniondale, New York-based authority said on its website. Taunton will continue to serve as chief financial officer.

Michael Hervey, the previous COO, was acting chief executive officer for two years. He resigned after LIPA was criticized for its preparations and response to Sandy, which knocked down trees and power lines and left 1 million customers in the dark, some for more than two weeks.

A panel appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to investigate the authority’s management practices recommended in January that it be converted into an investor-owned utility.

“John is coming to LIPA at a critical time in its history and we are excited about the expertise he brings to the organization,” Larry Waldman, chairman of the authority’s board, said today in an e-mailed statement.

McMahon spent 35 years at Con Edison, owner of New York’s largest utility. He served as its general counsel and chief executive officer of its Orange & Rockland Utilities unit, which serves customers in upstate New York.

Trustee Matthew Cordaro, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said he wasn’t aware a COO search was under way until this week, when McMahon’s name surfaced and a special board meeting was called to approve the appointment. “I don’t think the proper process was followed,” Cordaro said.

(Updates with trustee vote in second paragraph.)
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