Williamson to be offered $100K contract to replace retiring utility director

Posted on November 15, 2018 by Romi White

Outgoing Santa Rosa County District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson on Friday is expected to be offered an expected $100,000 contract for a newly created position to lead Holley-Navarre Water System — a move opposed by one of the utility’s current directors.

Currently the contract is being drafted, according to sources associated with the utility, who say the job description for the new “CEO-type position” is still under development and would differ from the current general manager position.

Retired CPA Daryl Lynchard said he was the sole dissenting vote in a November 8 closed-door personnel meeting.

Lynchard said he opposed the vote because the job was not advertised but expressed other concerns, including how Williamson’s term as a commissioner and representative on the Gulf Consortium would prohibits him from certain future lobbying efforts on behalf of the utility.

HNWS President Will Goulet said Williamson’s ability to perform the position is being “vetted,” including the applicability of Amendment 12 to Florida’s Constitution, which state voter’s approved during the November 6 general election.  That Amendment prohibits public officials from certain lobbying activity for six years following a term in office.

Goulet also told South Santa Rosa News that personnel meetings are closed out of necessity, citing a lawsuit the utility settled earlier this year with a former employee after personnel-related comments and actions made by previous board members were publicly disclosed. “Any personnel decision is always a closed-door meeting,” Goulet said.

Additionally, Goulet stated all new hires, even contracted positions, are subject to a 90-day probationary period.

Current HNWS General Manager Paul Gardner last month announced his retirement effective December 31.

Williamson in 2003-2005 previously worked as General Manager of Hidden Creek Golf Course, which is owned by HNWS. If he accepts the contract offer he could start the new position as early as December 1.