WSSC elects new commission chair

Eloise Foster has been elected the new commission chair of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). Foster, a commissioner representing Montgomery County since June 2016, was unanimously selected during a June commission meeting.

Foster’s term as chair lasts until June 2019. She previously served as Commission Vice Chair for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018.

Foster succeeds Thomasina Rogers, who will continue serving as a commissioner representing Prince George’s County. Chris Lawson, also a commissioner from Prince George’s County, was unanimously elected Vice Chair at last month’s meeting.

“As Chair, I pledge to work with management and my fellow Commissioners to ensure that we remain on a trajectory to achieve the hallmarks of a world-class water utility,” said Foster. “In that regard, we must maintain our strong financial condition even as we repair and replace our aging infrastructure. We must be visionary in response to the need for innovation and continue to put customers first. On a granular level, we will remain vigilant stewards of the public’s money and trust, while supporting the hard-working WSSC employees in our shared mission to supply safe, clean water to our
1.8 million customers.”

Foster was appointed as the Secretary of Budget & Management in 2000 and became the first African-American woman in the nation to hold this statewide office. She returned to this role under then-Governor Martin O’Malley, serving from 2007-2015. She also served as Deputy Secretary of Budget & Management and Assistant Secretary of Budget & Fiscal Planning prior to that. During her tenure, Foster was the chief architect of proposals to reform the State pension system and revamp the health benefits program.

Foster serves as Chair of the Maryland Teachers and State Employees Supplemental Retirement Plans, and is a trustee of the Financial Accounting Foundation. She is also an honorary lifetime member of the National Association of State Budget Officers, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and The Links, Incorporated. Foster earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Howard University and her MBA from American University’s Kogod School of Business and she is a graduate of Harvard University’s Program for State and Local Government Officials.

Chris Lawson was elected Vice Chair for the fourth time, previously serving in this position in FY12, FY14 and FY16. He also served as Commission Chair in FY13. A resident of Prince George’s County for 25 years, Lawson, who was appointed to the Commission in 2011, is an award-winning businessman who is no stranger to community service. He serves in a leadership capacity for numerous non-profit organizations, including Path to Greatness and the Boys and Girls Club of South Bowie.

Six commissioners govern WSSC, which has an annual $1.4 billion operating and capital budget. Three commissioners are residents of Montgomery County and three are residents of Prince George’s County. Commissioners are appointed by their respective county executives to four-year terms and are confirmed by their county councils.

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