The recent appointment of a new chairperson to San Antonio Water System’s Board of Trustees marked a historic first for the city-owned utility.
On Sept. 1, Jelynne LeBlanc Burley took the helm as the first woman to lead the SAWS Board. She replaces Berto Guerra Jr., who led the utility’s governing body for the past nine years.
“I strongly and firmly believe that Jelynne Burley is the best prepared person — man or woman — to ever hold this gavel,” Guerra said, before handing his ceremonial mallet to the new chairwoman. “She knows how to lead. She knows utilities. And she intimately knows our great city.”
Burley is the president and chief executive officer of The Center for Health Care Services, the mental health authority for Bexar County. She previously served as executive vice president and chief delivery officer for CPS Energy. Burley also worked for the City of San Antonio for 24 years, including a stint as deputy city manager.
“I came here 38 years ago as a grad student with some very wise words from my mother: Service is the price you pay for the space you occupy,” Burley said. “And it is with those words and my heart that San Antonio has embraced me and I have been able to contribute for the past 38 years. And I look forward to continuing to do so.”
Burley will serve a four-year term representing the North Side on the seven-member, City Council-appointed panel.
“Although we will miss the steady guidance of Chairman Berto Guerra, I look forward to working with Ms. Burley as SAWS enters this exciting new chapter,” said SAWS president/CEO Robert R. Puente.
Joining Burley on the SAWS Board is former San Antonio City Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna, who will represent the Southeast quadrant, and former City and CPS Energy official Edward Belmares to represent the South Side.