The new Tallahasse chosen-one for director of the South Florida Water Management District, Melissa Meeker, has arrived! In her first communication to district staff she announced yesterday that stern changes are ahead for the 19-county organization which is responsible for the management of the huge, plumbed system known as the Florida Everglades and for supply of drinking water for much of south Florida's Gold Coast. Here's what she had to say:
From: Meeker, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 4:03 PM
Subject: Announcement from the Executive Director
It is my privilege and honor to begin working today as your Executive Director. While this is a time of new beginnings, there is no doubt that we have a tough road ahead, which will require tough decisions and a necessary change in the way we do business.
In line with Governor Rick Scott’s priorities for lowering taxes and growing the economy – and with policy direction from the Governing Board - we will develop our most austere budget in over a decade. We owe it to the taxpayers to limit spending, eliminate unneeded bureaucracy and refocus the agency on its core mission.
We will no longer take on responsibilities outside of our purview or operate with inflated budgets and salaries. Instead we will reorganize the agency around its statutory responsibilities, flatten the management structure to be more in line with the rest of the state and get on with the business of water management.
These changes will begin at the top with the District Leadership Team. As attached, I am restructuring the executive management of the agency to ensure we place the greatest emphasis on mission-critical functions with fewer layers and lower salaries. I have asked the following to serve on my leadership team:
· Bob Brown will serve as my Assistant Executive Director overseeing regulation, water resources and administrative services. His nearly three decades of experience will help me guide the agency in a new, fiscally-conservative direction.· Tommy Strowd will serve as Director of Operations, Maintenance and Construction, overseeing flood control operations, land management and capital construction projects.· Terrie Bates will serve as Director of Water Resources, overseeing our water supply, science and modeling functions.· Sharon Trost will assume the role of Director of Regulation· Doug Bergstrom will serve as the Director of Administrative Services overseeing our budget, business and mission support functions.· Ernie Barnett will take on the newly-created role of Everglades Policy Director to refocus and reshape our role in ecosystem restoration.· Deena Reppen will serve as my Chief of Staff and oversee our external affairs.
In the days ahead, the new leadership will be meeting with you to discuss these organizational changes. We will then start the difficult work of reshaping this agency to both reflect our new financial framework and to deliver the core services this organization was created to provide. We are embarking on a new course, but it is a course that will rebuild our reputation and lead to our long-term success.
Attachments: Executive Management Organizational Chart