Board members of South Florida Water Management District realize that time is running out for them to decide whether to sponsor efforts to restore the central Everglades — estimated to cost as much as $2 billion — but when they asked for a deadline at their meeting on Thursday, they got several answers.
Ernie Barnett, the newly appointed interim executive director, said he hoped to have a draft plan for the district’s role in the Central Everglades Planning Project in July — August at the latest. The board would then have until October to make a final decision.
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Melissa Meeker’s email to staff:
From: Meeker, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 12:20 PM
Subject: A Farewell Note
As my last week as Executive Director comes to a close, I want to take a minute to thank you for your hard work and many accomplishments these past two years. I’m so proud of all you have achieved and want to mention just a few highlights: Restoration Strategies are now in place for improving Everglades water quality. Stakeholders are meeting with us on a Caloosahatchee visioning process. OMC tackled record-breaking rain during Tropical Storm Isaac, moving more than 100 billion gallons of water and constructing an emergency spillway. The District’s comprehensive land assessment is well under way, the Dispersed Water Management program is expanding, and water supply plan updates continue forward. Not to mention all the Mission Support functions that keep everything humming along.
We also tackled the challenging task of focusing a smaller budget on core mission priorities. I won’t pretend that was easy, but I do believe we have reached a healthier, more efficient place as a government agency. I feel very good about that — and also about the generous funding we received from the Florida Legislature this year. Their increased financial support for our work validates the success of that necessary and important transition.
Tomorrow the Governing Board will be taking the next steps forward to select a new executive director. I can assure you that every member of the Board cares deeply about the District’s mission and the agency’s ongoing success. I fully trust that they will identify the best person to serve as your next executive director. I also trust that you will provide that individual with the same hard work and professional excellence that you provided to me. You are the best!
As always, thank you for all that you do.
With very best wishes,
Dan DeLisi’s email to staff regarding appointment of interim director
From: DeLisi, Daniel
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:56 AM
Subject: Board names SFWMD Interim Executive Director
I want to let you know that this morning the District’s Governing Board named Ernie Barnett as interim executive director, with plans to have further discussion on the permanent position at the July Board meeting. As you know, Ernie currently serves as our Assistant Executive Director for Everglades and Water Resources and has more than 30 years of water resource experience in Florida. Please join me in congratulating and supporting Ernie in this role.
As we move through this transition, I also want to let you know that the Board members have expressed their full confidence in District staff and the challenging work we are doing. The leadership team and I appreciate your excellent efforts and will keep you updated as the Board moves forward with this important decision for the agency.
Chief of Staff