By Sean Tubbs
Friday, December 4, 2009
Charlottesville Tomorrow

Gary Fern will leave his position as executive director of the Albemarle County Service Authority to take a position with an engineering firm that has ties to the organization. Fern will go to work for Whitman, Requardt & Associates  (WR&A) in their Richmond office. 

“I will be working on engineering design of water and wastewater projects for municipal clients,” Fern said in an e-mail to Charlottesville Tomorrow. His last day at the Authority will be on February 26, 2010.

Fern will be working on projects similar to the proposed North Fork Regional Pump Station, which was designed by WR&A. The $10.7 million project will replace the aging Camelot Wastewater Treatment Plant. WR&A is involved in other ACSA projects as well, including several water main replacements, extensions and various water systems improvement projects.

The ACSA Board of Directors held an executive session to discuss the naming of an interim executive director. They also discussed the details of a search committee that will be formed to find a permanent replacement for Fern. The Board opted not to hire a headhunting firm, but to instead conduct the search in-house with human resources manager Katrina Thraves.

While discussing the advertisement for the position, ACSA Board member John Martin (White Hall) said it was important for the replacement to know that the authority will be expanding dramatically over the next ten years as Albemarle County grows. Liz Palmer (Samuel Miller) said the position description should make clear that the executive director sits on the Board of Directors for the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. The ACSA, along with the city of Charlottesville, is one of the RWSA’s two customers.

Chairman Don Wagner expressed the concern that the controversy over the adopted community water supply plan “would not be a plus for us.”

“I am positive that people in the water and sewer business in the state of Virginia know what’s been going on with Rivanna for the past two years,” Wagner said. “It’s got to be a huge minus.”

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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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