|Born||San Francisco, California|
|Education||Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.|
|Occupation||San Francisco Supervisor (1993–1997)
San Francisco Treasurer (1997–2003)
General Manager of The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (2003-2009)
|Employer||City of San Francisco|
Susan Leal is a water utility consultant, the co-author of the book Running out of Water. Formerly, she was the General Manager of SFPUC, San Francisco Treasurer and a San Francisco Supervisor. She lives in San Francisco, CA.
Early life and education
Leal was born in San Francisco. She graduated from Presentation High School, a now-closed (and part of the campus of University of San Francisco) Catholic prep school in San Francisco. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.
Beginning in 1976, Leal served as counsel to U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. In 1982, she served as senior consultant to the California State Assembly's Committee on Ways and Means. In 1985, Leal became vice-president of a health care management company. Leal also worked as a businesswoman, a lawyer, and an investigator in state and federal governments.
Leal was appointed to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in June 1993. She was reelected the following year to a four-year term. While serving on the Board, she chaired its Finance Committee. From 1997 to 2004, Leal served as Treasurer of San Francisco, the City's banker and chief investment officer, winning re-election in 2001 with 87% of the vote. Her duties as Treasurer also included managing all tax and revenue collection for San Francisco. She helped increase tax collection rates, including a 91% increase in delinquent tax collection, representing more than $26 million in additional revenue. Leal helped introduce the City Payment Center – a one-stop shop for city transactions such as transit passes, water bills, and passports – spearheading the city's e-commerce initiative, which was named one of the top e-government projects nationwide and launching the nation's first audio ATM for the visually impaired.
In 2004, Leal was appointed General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is a regional utility that delivers water to 2.5 million customers. During her term Leal, upgraded the Bay Area’s seismically unsafe water system and initiated a program to update San Francisco’s wastewater system. She also implemented “greasecycle” – a biodiesel fuel program that uses restaurants’ waste oils and grease to run San Francisco’s fleet of vehicles while keeping this waste out of the city’s sewer system.
After her term with the SFPUC, Leal joined Harvard as a Senior Fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative, where she researched the delivery of potable water and treatment of wastewater in communities worldwide. Her book, Running Out of Water is based on her work at Harvard.
Running Out of Water, which Leal co-authored with Harvard Professor Peter Rogers, is forward-looking book that offers a sobering perspective on the world's water crisis — why it is happening, where it is likely to strike, and what puts the worst strain on our supply. In it Leal and Rogers explain water’s unique status as a renewable but finite resource. They also introduce exciting new technologies that can help revolutionize our consumption of water and explain how different areas of the world have taken the initiative to alleviate water shortages in their communities.
Ms. Leal now works as a consultant advising public agencies and corporations nationwide on realistic and creative solutions to the water and wastewater challenges they face.
|Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
|San Francisco Treasurer