Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Swiftmud picks engineer as new executive director

TAMPA —- The new executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District is a 50-year-old engineer from Jupiter who has never worked for a Florida government agency before.

Taking the job means taking a pay cut.

The board of the agency commonly known as Swiftmud, which oversees the water supply in a 16-county area, decided late Monday to hire Blake Guillory, vice president of the engineering firm of Brown & Caldwell.

Guillory told them he'd take the job, but details of his contract remain to be worked out, said Swiftmud chairman Paul Senft.

The board picked him over the other finalist out of 51 applicants, David Chardavoyne, whom Swiftmud officials recently learned had sued two previous employers for breach of contract.

In selecting its finalists the Swiftmud board rejected three of the agency's deputy executive directors who had also applied for the job.

"With the changes we're faced that are coming down from the governor's office ... it was essential to have someone from the outside," explained board member Neil Combee.

Combee said he and other board members were impressed with Guillory's knowledge of Florida water issues. He is in charge of Brown & Caldwell offices throughout the state, and his family owns a 200-acre farm in DeSoto County.

It helped, too, that Guillory had met with Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard and gotten his blessing, Combee said.

Guillory will be replacing Dave Moore, a longtime Swiftmud employee who was promoted to executive director in 2003. Moore, who announced his resignation in May, was making $194,000.

In his application, Guillory told the Swiftmud board he was making $175,000 a year at Brown & Caldwell. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott told all five of the state's water management districts he wants their executive directors' salaries capped at $165,000 and called for more budget cuts.

Guillory, who has master's degrees in business and engineering from the University of South Florida, wrote in an e-mail to the Times last week that he had no quarrel with Scott's goals. He noted that with four deputy directors, 71 employees in information technology, and hundreds more in administration, the agency "seems significantly out of balance."

Chardavoyne has experience running a water agency in San Antonio, Texas. However, in addition to suing two employers, he left the Texas job under an agreement that paid him $412,000 in exchange for a promise not to sue. And a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against him and the Texas utility resulted in a $635,000 settlement.

Chardavoyne contended that "any seasoned senior executive who has a full career in terms of experience will run into lawsuits," he said. But Guillory, who has spent 20 years as a consultant to Florida city and county governments and the three largest water management districts, said he has never been sued nor has he sued anyone else.

Craig Pittman can be reached at

Swiftmud picks engineer as new executive director 08/30/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. Today, a total eclipse of the sun will span the entire United States, crossing from the West Coast to the East Coast, for the first time in 99 years. (Dreamstime/TNS)
  3. What is poke? Here's how to make the Hawaiian dish at home


    In Hawaiian, "poke" simply means "to cut."

    Tuna Poke Bowl: For a classic poke bowl, try this recipe with ahi (yellowfin) and only a few other ingredients.
  4. MOSI, SPC, libraries offer safe solar eclipse viewing Monday


    If you couldn't score some of the hard-to-find eyewear that will let you watch Monday's solar eclipse, have no fear, there are safe viewing choices across the Tampa Bay area.

    Twin Falls High School science teachers Ashley Moretti, left, and Candace Wright, right, use their eclipse shades to look at the sun as they pose for a portrait at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls, Idaho. The district bought 11,000 pairs of solar glasses, enough for every student and staff member to view the solar eclipse Aug. 21

(Pat Sutphin/The Times-News via AP)
  5. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?