More Revolving Doors

Doug Williams thought so much of Bob Lanier that he sold his civil engineering firm, R.G. Miller Inc., and signed on in early 1992 as the new mayor's executive assistant. As it turned out, being a Lanier buddy, even a particularly adoring one who earned more than $90,000 a year, was hard work.

Williams -- who also served as a deputy director of public works and as the city's building official (in charge of inspections, etc.) -- says life is easier since he left the Lanier administration on April 30 to take a job locally with Denver-based Operational Services Inc.

"My blood pressure is lower, and my doctor will testify to that," Williams says. "It was a very stressful job."

Less rigorous was Williams' search for a less demanding occupation: OSI is half-owned by Montgomery Watson Inc., which shares a lucrative consulting contract with Brown & Root to manage the $1.5 billion, federally mandated retooling of the city's sewer system. At one time, while he was director of the Great-er Houston Wastewater program, Williams worked closely with Montgomery Watson. But he says his previous relationship with the company as a city employee had no bearing on his career shift.

"My skills are management, administration and leadership," Williams explains. "I've got good people skills."

Not to mention foresight. Williams says that he's being paid $110,000 (other sources suggest it's closer to $200,000) to negotiate management contracts for OSI, a company that provides the manpower to operate wastewater systems. Perhaps coincidentally (but probably not), the city will likely be in the market for such skilled labor in the not-so-distant future, when construction of the new sewer system is complete.

-- Brian Wallstin


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