After spending several months conducting a nationwide search for candidates, the Erie County Water Authority has hired H. John Mye III as its new executive director.
Mye, an Amherst resident, most recently worked with Lancaster-based engineering firm Ecology and Environment, Inc., where he served as its chief financial officer.
Although the Erie County Water Authority's search was nationwide and conducted over the past several months, they chose the Western New Yorker because, according to Chairman Jerome Schad, he brings the ideal combination of experience and knowledge to the position.
"It was important to us because, one, I think this is a management position. Two, 99 percent of what we do relates to infrastructure, building it and maintaining it and upgrading it," Schad said. "That engineering component is critical and extremely helpful in terms of running and being the director."
Mye was traveling and unable to be reached for an interview. His first official day on the job is February 4.
While he brings a mix of engineering and fiscal management experience into his new role, what Mye will not bring is any political background or history of campaign contributions. ECWA, for years, was looked upon as an institution rife with political patronage and last year was blasted in a state report following an audit of its administrative practices. Schad noted the importance of bringing in someone without strong political ties as the Authority works to create a newer image if transparency.
"We were cognizant of the criticism and we restricted ourselves to candidates who would satisfy the criterion, no matter who was looking at the Authority," Schad said. "I don't think there's anyone out there who is in a position to say this is not a good choice."
The Authority also broke from its past practice of hiring an executive director on a contractual basis. Mye's hire is at-will, according to Schad, and does not include any "balloon payments" enjoyed by previous executives.
Mye takes a position that has been vacant since Earl Jann was fired last June.