Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Water management district Swiftmud to shed up to 150 employees

The state agency that oversees water supplies in the 16 counties around Tampa Bay will shed 130 to 150 of its 768 employees by early next year, its board decided Tuesday.

Employees of the Southwest Florida Water Management District will be offered a voluntary separation plan that will be available for 45 days. If that doesn't work, then involuntary layoffs will follow in January or February, officials at the agency commonly known as Swiftmud announced.

The reason for the cutback: This spring, Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature slashed how much Swiftmud could collect in taxes. As a result, the Brooksville-based agency has already cut its budget to 44 percent of what it was last year, but still faces a potential $30 million budget shortfall by 2013, agency officials say.

That means choosing between cutting environmental programs or cutting staff, according to newly hired Swiftmud executive director Blake Guillory. He chose to cut staff.

"The more quickly we can get right-sized for our budget and workload, the faster we can move forward, secure in our jobs, to meet the water resource challenges of this district," Guillory, an engineer with no previous experience running a government agency, said in a news release.

Guillory presented his plan for restructuring the agency to its governing board Tuesday, and the board approved it. The plan is expected to save Swiftmud more than $15 million per year.

Swiftmud is supposed to meet the water needs of current and future water users while protecting and preserving the water resources in an area that covers about 10,000 square miles of west-central Florida. It's one of the state's five water management districts — all of which have been undergoing major upheavals since Scott took office this year.

In August, after ordering cuts that totaled about $700 million from all five districts, Scott said he wanted the agencies to slash their budgets further. Scott ordered cuts at Swiftmud totaling $4.2 million more. He cut $2.4 million from Swiftmud's reserve fund and took the rest out of salaries.

The governor said then that those additional cuts "are just the first steps in ensuring that Florida's precious water resources are protected and managed in the most fiscally responsible way possible."

"It's a dark day for Florida's water resources," Audubon of Florida's Charles Lee said then.

The remaking of Swiftmud really took off with the arrival of Guillory, who started the first week of October. He immediately sent two of his deputy executive directors and the agency's longtime attorney packing, and then demoted a third deputy director.

Guillory himself has taken a pay cut. He was making $175,000 a year at the engineering firm Brown & Caldwell, but Scott has told all five water management districts he wants their executive directors' salaries capped at $165,000.

Craig Pittman can be reached at craig@sptimes.com.

Water management district Swiftmud to shed up to 150 employees 10/25/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 10:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Man found dead in Dunedin canal identified as missing 63-year-old

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies on Tuesday identified the man found floating in a Dunedin canal as the man who was reported missing last week.

    Charles P. Morris, 63, was found dead in a canal in Dunedin behind Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park, at 605 Michigan Blvd. around 3:48 p.m. Monday. He was reported missing June 21 after he was last seen leaving his home the night before to walk his dog. [ Courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  2. A Time magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs. It's fake

    National

    The framed copy of Time magazine was hung up in at least four of President Trump's golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland. Filling the entire cover was a photo of Donald Trump.

    A framed copy of Time magazine, dated March 1, 2009, that hangs in at least four of President Donald Trump's golf clubs, from South Florida to Scotland, is fake. There was no March 1, 2009, issue of Time. The real March 2, 2009, issue of Time featured actor Kate Winslet on the cover. But the issue makes no mention of Trump. [Left, Time; right, Angel Valentin for the Washington Post]
  3. Editorial: The human cost of slashing Medicaid

    Editorials

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had no choice Tuesday but to postpone voting this week on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that is just as devastating as the version passed by the House. The Congressional Budget Office's estimate that Senate bill would eliminate health care coverage for 22 million …

    Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press
  4. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick

    Blogs

    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.
  5. Editorial: Scott's poor choice for CFO

    Editorials

    Gov. Rick Scott didn't reach too deeply into Florida's talent pool in appointing his friend Jimmy Patronis to fill a vacancy as the state's new chief financial officer. This is an exceptionally weak choice for a Cabinet post that requires a sophisticated understanding of banking and other financial services, and it …