After a lengthy search, Westlands Water District hires new general manager

The district founds its replacement for Tom Birmingham, who retired last year after 22 years with Westlands.

Westlands Water District has found its next general manager, the district announced Tuesday. 

The nation’s largest water district is hiring Allison Febbo to fill the position. 


The backstory: Former Westlands general manager Tom Birmingham retired last year after 22 years leading the district. 

  • Birmingham’s retirement came shortly after a sweeping election saw a new cast of reformers selected on the governing board, signaling that Birmingham’s remaining time with Westlands was short. 

The big picture: Febbo, who will be the first woman to serve as general manager, brings 25 years of experience with her in natural resources, hydrology and water operations. 

  • She currently is the general manager of the Mojave Water Agency, and she was previously the Deputy Operations Manager for the Central Valley Operations Office for the US Bureau of Reclamation. 
  • Febbo will start with Westlands on April 24. 
  • Her responsibilities will be directing, coordinating and reviewing the activities and operations of the district, as well as serving as the administrative head in relations with the public, the government and local public agencies. 

What they’re saying: Westlands board president Jeff Fortune said the board is thrilled to welcome Febbo as general manager. 

  • “Allison is a pragmatic, collaborative leader with a proven track record of bridging the gap between science, engineering, and policy related to California’s complex water resource systems,” Fortune said in a statement. “She brings technical expertise and civic mindset needed to ensure a sustainable water future for the environment and the hard-working families that continue to feed the world.”
  • “I am honored the Board has entrusted me to serve as Westlands’ next General Manager,” Febbo said in a statement. “I am committed to ensuring a sustainable, diverse water supply and continuing the high-quality services provided by the District. Westlands has long been recognized as a leader in California water policy, and I look forward to working collaboratively with staff, water users, and other agencies to explore and implement creative, comprehensive and climate-resilient approaches.
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