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Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Information officer takes helm of district

KEY LARGO -- Paul Christian was expected to lead his first sewer district meeting Tuesday, Aug. 18, as its interim general manager.

The meeting took place after press time.

Outgoing manager Margaret Blank, who announced her departure plans privately to board members and staff last month, plans to stay on board as a consultant through December to help Christian take over her old desk.

The district board's appointment of Christian last Tuesday came with little public vetting. The district manager's job was not advertised.

Days before his appointment, Christian told the Free Press it was premature to discuss his qualifications or interest in the position publicly.

Christian's former position as chief information officer will likely go Rob Bulkiewicz, who served under Christian in the district's information technology department, according to board member Andy Tobin.

Bulkiewicz was recently credited with the launch of the district's new website.

Christian was paid $102,000 annually as information officer, while Blank was making $125,000 annually as district manager.

Christian will serve under an interim title, which allows the board latitude to look for a replacement if he struggles at the post over the next couple of months, the board decided. His appointment was unanimous. The board has not discussed what his compensation increase will be.

Board member Norm Higgins, though, expects Christian's hiring to save the district money.

"It's more and more money," he said.

Christian, 47, joined the district in 2010 as its information technology manager. A Columbus, Ohio native, he initially enlisted in the Army National Guard before serving 10 years of active duty. In 2002 he moved to the Florida Keys and worked in the real estate industry. He later owned a Key Largo-based computer consulting firm before joining the district. Last year Christian received an associate degree in information systems management from Miami Dade College.

Blank, 45, who joined the district in 2005 as an engineer, later served as construction manager and operations manager before being named general manager in 2011.

jgore@keysnews.com

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