Back to top

Board of Water Commissioners

The mayor of Denver appoints Denver's five-member Board of Water Commissioners to staggered six-year terms. When a commissioner’s term expires, he or she continues to serve until the mayor reappoints or replaces him or her.

The Board's purpose is to ensure a continuous supply of water to the people of Denver and its suburban customers. Among other duties, commissioners are responsible for setting water rates and monitoring the cost and maintenance of the system. The Board holds its public meetings generally twice a month. Commissioners are paid $600 annually ($25 per meeting) for their service — the same amount of money they have been paid since the current Denver Charter was adopted in 1959.

Paula Herzmark, President

  • Commissioner since April 24, 2009, reappointed July 11, 2013.
  • Term expires July 10, 2019.Paula Herzmark

Paula Herzmark is the executive director of the Denver Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports Denver Health. She previously worked as the chief executive officer of the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, as well as the president and chief executive officer of Prime Time Cable Corp., a private cable television company. She also served in Gov. Richard Lamm’s cabinet as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for five years, after having served as the governor’s legislative liaison.

Herzmark has been active in several boards in the community, including Opera Colorado, Stapleton Foundation, Denver Judicial Nominating Commission, Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, National Jewish Hospital, the Denver Health and Hospitals and the Downtown Denver Partnership.

John Lucero, First Vice President

  • Commissioner since July 18, 2007; reappointed July 13, 2015.John Lucero
  • Term expires July 10, 2021.

John Lucero is the former deputy director of the mayor’s office of economic development. He served as a broker associate at Lucero Real Estate, Inc., a local real estate company that offers residential, commercial, development and investment real estate expertise. Lucero also is a former director of the Denver Board of Realtors, where he received the 2007 President’s Distinguished Service Award and has been a member of numerous committees. He also has served on several committees for the Colorado Association of Realtors and the Colorado Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Lucero currently serves as a member of the Denver Zoning Code Task Force and was a member of the mayor’s transition team for Community Planning and Development in 2003.

Greg Austin, Vice President

  • Commissioner since July 28, 2009, reappointed July 11, 2013.Greg Austin
  • Term expires July 10, 2019.

Greg Austin is a former partner in the Denver law firm Holland & Hart LLP. He retired from the partnership in 2001 but continued serving as “of counsel” to the firm until July 2009. Austin left Holland & Hart from 1973 to 1977 to serve as general counsel to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and later as solicitor (general counsel) of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Austin serves on the board of directors of Craig Hospital, Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting System, the Denver Police Foundation and the Holland & Hart Foundation. He also is a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee and has served on the Colorado State Treasurers Advisory Commission.


Thomas A. Gougeon, Vice President

  • Commissioner since Aug. 10, 2004; reappointed Aug. 24, 2011.Tom Gougeon
  • Term expires July 10, 2017.

Tom Gougeon is president of the Gates Family Foundation. He was a principal in Continuum Partners LLC, a Colorado-based development company known for mixed use and transit oriented “green” building projects. Gougeon served as chief executive officer of the Stapleton Redevelopment Foundation, assistant to the mayor of Denver, executive director of a charitable foundation and was a research associate at the Denver Research Institute in community planning and natural resource economics.

Gougeon also worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked on the Clean Air Act, western energy development and public lands issues. He is a former chair of the Nature Conservancy of Colorado and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and he has served on the board of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and many other community organizations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Harvard University.

Penfield Tate III, Vice President

  • Commissioner since Oct. 18, 2005; reappointed Aug. 24, 2011.Penfield Tate
  • Term expires July 10, 2017.

Penfield Tate III is an attorney within Kutak Rock’s national public finance practice. He was a shareholder at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and led its Public Finance Group. Tate is a former state legislator, having served in both the Colorado Senate and House of Representatives. He graduated from Colorado State University and Antioch School of Law. Tate has served on the boards for the Colorado Bar Association, State of Colorado Banking Board, Cerebral Palsy of Colorado, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Five Points Community Center and Metropolitan State College of Denver Foundation. He has been the executive director of the Colorado Department of Administration, an aide to former Denver Mayor Federico Peña and a trade regulation attorney for the Federal Trade Commission.