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Head of DWP hospitalized in Costa Rica

Ronald Deaton suffers irregular heartbeat on vacation with family. He is expected to recover.

July 10, 2007|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

Ronald F. Deaton, chief of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, was hospitalized in Costa Rica over the weekend with an irregular heartbeat, officials announced Monday.

In a statement released Monday, the DWP said that "Deaton suffered what doctors have described as a serious cardiac arrhythmia" on Friday night while on vacation with his family.

The statement continued: "Ron is currently in an intensive care unit in a Costa Rican hospital with his family by his side. He is receiving excellent care. His family is encouraged by his progress and, though his condition is quite serious, they are hopeful that he will make a full recovery. The Deaton family is currently making plans to return Ron to Los Angeles as his condition permits."

Deaton, 64, was appointed to head the nation's largest municipal utility in late 2004 by then-Mayor James K. Hahn. Deaton, a 42-year employee with the city, previously served as the top advisor to the City Council in his role as the city's chief legislative analyst.

In that capacity, Deaton was known as the so-called 16th council member, capable of pulling strings behind the scenes to get things done.

Robert Rozanski, the DWP's chief administrative officer, is filling in for Deaton. It is a busy time for the agency, which is expected to raise water and power rates this fall and is also trying to greatly increase its supply of clean power.

"From what I hear, it's going to be quite some time before Ron will be well enough to return to his duties, and that is as it should be," DWP commission President H. David Nahai said. "He needs to take some time to recuperate. In the meantime, we'll continue to function."

steve.hymon@latimes.com

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