Jill Gaebler was elected chairwoman of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors on Wednesday and freshman board member Wayne Williams will be the vice chairman.

Gaebler was picked to head the board that governs the municipal utility in a runoff with Bill Murray. The vote was 6-3. Williams was selected vice chairman over Murray on a 5-4 vote.

Gaebler replaces Tom Strand, while Williams takes the position formerly held by Andy Pico.

The Utilities board is comprised of City Council members who selected their leaders the day before Tuesday. Richard Skorman will again be council president and Strand will be president pro tem.

Before the vote, Gaebler said Utilities needs to partner with the city to find and create efficiencies that benefit residents and ratepayers.

“Humans are contributing to climate change and we should do what we can to reduce pollution and the things Utilities is doing to cause climate change,” she said.

Williams said Utilities needs to build new transmission infrastructure in preparing for the closure of the coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant downtown.

After he was elected to the council earlier this month, Williams said that new infrastructure could allow Drake to be closed in the 2020s. The plant is set to be shuttered no later than 2035.

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