District Drama Makes Me Sad

There was an article in the Free Press this morning that gave me a headache.  Hopefully it will show up later at KeysNews.com.  Then I can provide a permanent link to it.

Anyhow, Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District board member Andy Tobin walked out of the District’s meeting last night.  Tobin has always been prone to theatrics.  (He’s an attorney, isn’t he?)  But his walking out really is a symptom of a deteriorating situation.  The District is experiencing a “brain drain” that could compromise future performance if not addressed. 

Tobin has tried to address the “brain drain” by proposing the use of an operating company to run the treatment plant and collection system.  Right now, this is the only solution on the table.  Tobin and Majeska seem to be the only commissioners paying any attention to the problem.  The other three need to stop getting distracted by interpersonal drama and really listen to what Tobin is saying.  Tobin can be a pain.  I know that.  I worked with the man for ten years.  But, he’s got valid concerns that need to be addressed.  Stat!

I sent the board members an email this morning.

Hi Commissioners;

I’m writing today because of the article in the Free Press this morning. The District is facing much bigger problems than code enforcement right now. I understand that the argument over code enforcement is a manifestation of larger underlying issues. But there is currently a brain drain that could compromise future performance. That requires your immediate attention.

In the past year, you have lost two “A” treatment plant operators. One of those was Dan Saus. Dan was replaced by a gentleman from out of state, who I’m sure is very capable. However, he does not yet have his Florida license according to the response to a public records request that I submitted. When will he be getting his Florida license?

The other was ______. _____ was the District employee most knowledgeable about the asset management system. When _____ left, the District was switching over from CityWorks to BS&A. ____ has not been replaced at all. What is the status of the asset management system today? Who is responsible for it day-to-day? And what are their qualifications?

At present, the District has one “A” operator and two “C” operators. One of those “C” operators only obtained his license very recently. That means for a substantial amount of time the District was running the plant with only two licensed operators. You’re cutting it very close in my opinion. You could wind up in compliance trouble.

You recently lost the only employee qualified to oversee your construction projects. Has that employee been replaced? And what are the qualifications of the replacement? According to the District’s latest budget, there are $14 million in construction projects planned. Is the District staffed up to handle that?

I know that you guys tend to gravitate toward personnel and administrative details, but the District is a technical operation and it needs to be staffed by technically competent people. It’s the GM’s job to do that. And it is your job to make sure the GM is doing his job.

Best,

Margaret

Besides all this, there are still money issues that desperately need attention.  As Abe Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  The District is facing very real external challenges and threats that cannot be ignored.  The board needs to pull it together and make sure they’re staffed up properly.  Then they need to pay very close attention to what the county is doing.

Get with it guys.

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