Water board hires new manager

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But the face is familiar

By Lou Elliott Jones

When the Cedar Key Water & Sewer District Board started looking for a replacement for their late manager Jack Hotaling they just had to turn their heads to the end of the board table for a replacement.
John McPherson, the board's attorney who usually sits by the end of the board table and has been filling Hotaling's position on an interim basis, told the board earlier this month that he was enjoying the work and he would like to make them an offer to do the manager's job on a one-year contract.
The board accepted his offer and will vote on the one-year contract that will pay McPherson $4,000 per month to continue as their attorney and take on 20 hours of managerial work at its next meeting on Monday, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m. at the District Offices at 510 Third St.
The board will also be choosing a replacement for Board Member Chris Cowart who left his position after winning election to the Levy County School Board on Nov. 6. Applications for the board position are due Friday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. at the District office.
David Beach, chairman of the board, said McPherson stepped in to help at the District offices after Hotaling's death on Sept. 5. “Someone needed to step in and do the things that were slipping through the cracks,” Beach said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “He offered to step in on a part-time basis til we decided what to do.”
Beach said while determining what the job duties to put in an ad for the manager's position, he decided it sounded like something he would like to do, Beach said.
“He has stepped to the plate and we accepted his offer,” Beach said. “We could not ask for a better fit, especially with the things that are coming up now.”
McPherson said in a phone interview on Tuesday that he is enjoying doing the job. He said he made the proposal to do the work on a one-year basis under contract. “It seemed to be the best thing for the district,” McPherson said. “At least for the next year rather than trying to find someone new with so many things going on in the district right now.”
The district is dealing with getting the reverse osmosis equipment it installed this summer permitted by the state. The equipment became necessary after saltwater intrusion into its wells was detected in testing in June. “We have to get all that permitted and get that permanent,” McPherson said.
In addition the district will be putting in new water pipelines from the plant to the town in the next year and it is in the middle of the process to get the sewage plant re-permitted.