Woman at center of KPRC 2′s investigation into outrageous water bills resigns

Carol Haddock’s 7-year tenure as director of Houston Public Works has been punctuated by problems in the last few years, primarily water issues

Houston Mayor John Whitmire with Carol Haddock on April 4, 2024 when the mayor announced the new water bill relief plan. (Andrea Slaydon, Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – The woman at the helm of Houston Public Works (HPW) and the center of KPRC 2 Investigates 2-year-long DRAINED investigation into outrageous water bills, is stepping down.

Mayor John Whitmire said he’d accepted Carol Haddock’s resignation, and in a letter to the council he called her a dedicated public servant.

Recommended Videos

Haddock’s last day on the job is May 10. She’s been with the city for nearly 19 years and spent the last seven as Director of Public Works. That job is ending under a cloud of complaints about water billing issues. KPRC 2 Investigator Amy Davis exposed several failures within the system under Haddock’s leadership and was able to get more than $110K returned to water customers who’d been overbilled.

“I extend my appreciation for her service to the City of Houston and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” the mayor said.

Haddock said in her resignation letter to the mayor that she loves the city and wishes both he and HPW success moving forward. She also sent a farewell email to the entire department Wednesday afternoon, saying her North Star as HPW Director has been her commitment to transparency with her team.

“After serving as the first woman to lead Houston Public Works, I have decided to close this chapter and embark on a new journey,” she said, calling the day bittersweet. Haddock said she’d led a challenging and collective effort over the last few months to address “the high profile concerns of residents and this Administration. We did right by our residents in developing and delivering comprehensive action plans for long-term resolutions to address water bills, leaks, and the permitting system.”

Earlier this month, the mayor announced a major revamp to the city’s billing system for water and is working to get sensors on water meters replaced that will more accurately measure how much people are using. Those results came a few weeks after Mayor Whitmire talked with Amy Davis about the ongoing issues and his efforts to find solutions.

The city’s water relief plan includes three key elements:

  • Replace broken remote reading devices attached to every water meter with a goal to replace 100,000 of them by January.
  • Set up places where customers can speak to water department representatives in person when they have a problem with their bills.
  • The water department is working on a computer program that would alert them before an unusually high bill is sent to a customer so that water representatives can review it and fix it.

Richard Smith will become the interim director of Public Works and the city engineer. He’ll oversee all engineering-related decisions as the city launches a search to fill Haddock’s position.

Randy Macchi, the Chief Operating Officer of Houston Public Works, remains in his role and will oversee all decision-making that doesn’t have anything to do with engineering.

“Please join me in congratulating Randy and Richard for their deserved leadership positions and thanking them for their willingness to serve in these critical roles,” the mayor said.

About the Authors

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Recommended Videos