South Florida Water Management District governing board member Dan Delisi has resigned and accepted a position as the district’s chief of staff.
Delisi, 39, sent his resignation letter to Gov. Rick Scott last Thursday, saying “it is prudent to resign in order to be able to pursue other opportunities.” On Friday, Delisi said he submitted his application for the chief of staff position. Although he did not interview for the position, on Tuesday Delisi was offered the job over 53 other applicants. Job interviews are not required for top-level executive positions, said district spokesman Randy Smith.
The chief of staff position had been open since last September when Deena Reppen left the district to become Legislative Director of the Florida Association of Counties. The district posted the job opening on Feb. 2.
Besides speaking with the district’s general counsel about possible ethical and conflict of interest issues, Delisi said he spoke with no one at the district about his intention to apply for the job. District spokesman Smith said executive director Melissa Meeker spoke with Delisi after he applied for the job last Friday but there was no formal interview.
Delisi, who earned his masters degree in city planning at MIT, is a partner in a Fort Myers consulting firm that specializes in land use and civil engineering.
“It’s a position that, quite honestly, I feel pretty well qualified for,” Delisi said, saying he learned about the job from the routine emails the district sends to all employees to post openings. “I thought it was a great match.”
Gov. Rick Scott appointed Delisi to the governing board in May 2011. Governing board members serve for four years and receive no compensation. As chief of staff he will earn $135,012 plus benefits.
Delisi, who often met and spoke with regional stakeholders, including environmental and business interests, in addition to travelling to the governing board’s monthly meetings in West Palm Beach, said he felt like he had “two full-time jobs.”
“I love being a governing board member,” Delisi said. “It had to come to a head sometime. You can’t put as much time in as a volunteer and have that be sustainable.”
Delisi, who has young children in school, said he will split his time between the district’s headquarters in West Palm Beach and his home in Estero, south of Fort Myers.
The district is responsible for flood control, water supply and restoration throughout the 16 counties south of Orlando, including Lee county, where Delisi lives. The district has satellite offices in Fort Myers and Naples.
Delisi’s departure leaves three seats empty on the 9-member governing board. Terms will expire in March for board chairman Joe Collins, an executive at Lykes Bros. who represents Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Highlands, Glades, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola and Polk counties; and for vice chair Kevin Powers, a partner in Indiantown Realty Corp., who represents parts of St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Powers has requested to be reappointed by the governor.
Delisi’s hiring fills one of two top executive positions. Bob Brown, the district’s assistant executive director, left the district Feb. 15 to became executive director of the Lake Worth Drainage District.