Soil, water district hiring
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - When Jimmie Wohl got on the Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District board four years ago, his first meetings were about a speech contest and a showerhead exchange program.
Published: September 6, 2012
Published: September 6, 2012
Then Wohl, a local real estate agent, attended national conferences, and the subjects were invasive plant management and environmental issues. He found out about the Istokpoga Marsh Watershed Improvement District, which the HSWCD helped to start, but is little involved with now.
"Because we have no tax revenue to support us, we've yielded the power to the water management districts, because they have lots and lots of money," said Wohl, the current HSWCD chair.
The soil and water conservation district hasn't had an executive director for decades, Wohl said.
That's why the HSWCD has created a new full-time executive director position, said Ray Royce, executive director of both the Highlands County Citrus Growers Association and Heartland Agricultural Coalition.
"I have been a huge advocate for creating this position," Royce said. The HSWCD has been doing the job on a volunteer basis for more than two years, when Highlands County eliminated a part-time secretary a year ago.
The proposed executive director would be the point person for the agriculture and natural resources sectors on soil and water projects, Royce said. He or she would work with the water management districts, Highlands County and the local citrus and row-crop farmers and ranchers.
"Somebody needs to make them aware of regulatory programs, incentive programs and best management practices," Royce said. "We want this to be the go-to person for all the initiatives. What we're trying to do is create is a one-stop shop for lakes, rivers, streams and subsurface water. This person is going to have to be very knowledgeable.
"This is not going to be a Highlands County employee," Royce said. "There is not any county money involved at all. The county may provide office space, but that's all."
The conservation district has no taxing authority, Wohl said. The executive director's salary, which is advertized between $47,500 and $62,500, will be paid from grants and project management fees.
"This is going to have to be an innovative, entrepreneurial-type person," Wohl said.
"I just feel it's time now that we have more local involvement in water quality issues," Royce said.
"The real payoff to the community will be even better water quality than we have today," Royce said.
Applications will be screened by Royce, County Extension Director Mike Jensen and Pam Fentress. The application deadline is 3 p.m. Sept.17.
The job description and position requirements can be found at http://highlands.ifas.ufl.edu. Applicants can deliver a resume and application cover letter to Mike Jensen, Highlands County Extension Service, 4509 George Blvd. Sebring FL 33875. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (863) 402-6544.
email@example.com (863) 386-5828