Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Manager change at sewer district

KEY LARGO -- The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District could have a new manager as early as this week.

District Manager Margaret Blank told the Free Press last week she plans in December to move to New Hampshire, where her husband has secured a job.

Following her announcement, board member Norm Higgins said he planned to ask the rest of the board on Tuesday, Aug. 5, to replace Blank immediately with Chief Information Officer Paul Christian.

Blank said she would prefer the board name Christian as her successor and allow for a four-month transition period.

Results from the meeting were not available at press time.

Blank, who in May agreed to a three-year contract that pays $125,000 annually, took over as the district's manager in June 2011 following the departure of Chuck Fishburn.

Higgins and board Chairman Steve Gibbs told the Free Press last week they are ready to move Christian into Blank's post.

"With the five or six years he's been here, he knows the players, knows the problems and is a really good consultant," Gibbs said.

While Blank's expertise is in engineering, Christian, who Gibbs says has an associate's degree, has managed the district's information technology and customer service departments. Christian also made an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the wastewater board in 2008.

Asked if the district should publicly advertise the manager's six-figure post, Gibbs said that would be up to the five-member board, though his preference would be to hand the reins to Christian.

Losing Blank's engineering background didn't seem to worry Higgins, who said the board would be able to lean more on its plant manager for such matters.

Higgins credited Christian with helping the district refinance $17 million in debt, among other accolades.

Christian declined to comment about his interest in Blank's position.


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