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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Despite Senate diss, Swiftmud rehires chief



TAMPA -- Although warned that they were defying powerful senators, the Tampa Bay region's state water board voted unanimously Tuesday to rehire as its executive director the same man passed over by a Senate committee last week.

Three senators had blocked confirmation of Southwest Florida Water Management District executive director Dave Moore, a move that could have put him on the unemployment line in June. So the board voted to rehire him for one year, giving next year's Legislature another shot at confirming him.

When Moore asked if such a rehiring was legal, the water board's attorney, Bill Bilenky, said, "This has never happened before with an executive director."

Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lakeland, said he and two colleagues, Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Plant City, and Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, had blocked the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee from even considering Moore's confirmation during a meeting last week where the executive directors of the state's other four water districts all passed easily.

They had a number of concerns with Moore, Alexander said, particularly questions about whether Moore was blocking a proposal to pipe Hillsborough County's reclaimed water to phosphate mining giant Mosaic and a TECO power plant in Polk County -- a project that Alexander supports.

--Craig Pittman and Jennifer Liberto

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:54am]


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