Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

Swiftmud boss may take new job running South Florida water agency, overseeing Everglades

Two years ago, Blake Guillory took over as executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and sparked controversy by slashing the staff.

Now he may be leaving to take over the much larger South Florida Water Management District, which would put him in charge of the multibillion-dollar Everglades restoration project.

The board of the South Florida water agency is due to discuss filling its open executive director position today.

Guillory, 52, has been living in Jupiter during his two-year tenure running the agency commonly known as Swiftmud, which oversees water supplies in a 16-county region that includes Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Hernando counties.

"The commute has been pretty rough," he said Wednesday. "We had seriously considered moving."

However, he said, when the Florida Senate failed to confirm his appointment, he and his wife held off buying a house in the Brooksville area, and he continued commuting from the Atlantic coast every week.

In May, the boss of the South Florida water agency, Melissa Meeker, abruptly resigned after just two years on the job, announcing she was taking a post with an environmental consulting firm in Stuart. During her tenure, she crafted an $880 million plan to clean up pollution in the Everglades aimed at resolving a long legal battle with the federal government.

When Meeker quit, "I just made their board chairman aware that I am available," Guillory said. He makes $165,000 a year, the most possible for that position — and that's the most he can make in the new job, by order of Gov. Rick Scott.

"I'll miss him terribly" if he gets the job, said Carlos Beruff, a Bradenton homebuilder who chairs the Swiftmud board. "He's done a lot of good for the district."

Even before he started at Swiftmud, Guillory had sent two of his deputy executive directors and the agency's longtime attorney packing, and then demoted a third deputy director.

After Scott and the Legislature slashed the budgets of all five of the state's water districts, Guillory oversaw the layoffs of about 150 more employees. He said the agency has about 580 employees, down from 740 when he started, but is hiring again, targeting scientists, engineers and computer modeling experts.

Before Swiftmud, Guillory had no government experience. He was vice president of the engineering firm Brown & Caldwell, which he said worked on a number of Everglades-related projects so he's familiar with the restoration program. He has master's degrees in business and engineering from the University of South Florida.

Comments
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

Rays’ trade silence likely a short-lived phenomenon

LAKE BUENA VISTA — There were a lot of reasons the Rays didn’t start the process of trading some of their bigger-name, higher-paid players at last week’s winter meetings.Most obvious was them not finding the just-right deal to move closer Alex Colome...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

Jones: Tony Dungy didn’t leave the Bucs on the clearance rack

It is and always will be the greatest debate in Tampa Bay sports history.Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy?You don’t even need to say anything more than that. Bucs fans already know what you’re talking about.Gruden or Dungy?Who was most responsible for the on...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

Jon Gruden or Tony Dungy? Why the debate rages on

TAMPA — Bucs coach Jon Gruden did not win the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team. Don’t believe me? Ask Dungy. "It wasn’t. They did a great job. They took it and tweaked it," Dungy said. "The same way I got a great (Colts) tea...
Updated: 2 hours ago
She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.The Eustis woman’s crime?She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Resi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Forecast: Weekend brings sunny skies and warmer temperatures

Forecast: Weekend brings sunny skies and warmer temperatures

After a cold front across Tampa Bay, temperatures are on the rise this weekend, said WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey.href="http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2015/graphics/macros/css/base.css"> 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-ar...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

Firefighters injured after early-morning blaze at Tampa strip mall

TAMPA — Three firefighters were injured early Saturday morning battling a fire at a W Waters Avenue strip mall, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.Firefighters said the two-alarm blaze appeared to come from a nail salon at the plaza on 2202 W Waters Ave....
Updated: 3 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch had won nine straight heading into Friday’s game against Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental lea...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Staff writers pick sides (kind of) in the Dungy-Gruden debate

Even with — perhaps especially with —Jon Gruden set to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor Monday night, Tampa Bay’s Great Sports Debate hasn’t abated. Who deserves more credit for the biggest moment in Tampa Bay sports history — the Bucs’ Super ...
Published: 12/16/17