On Friday, at 4 p.m., the City of Marathon released Wastewater Utilities Manager Zully Hemeyer as part of a “reorganizational” measure. “We are comfortable with the service she has provided us,” said City Manager Mike Puto, “and she leaves the city in good standing, but we are doing some reorganization.”
Hemeyer’s termination includes two weeks paid leave and accumulated medical leave, so she will be paid through the month of August.
The state Department of Environmental Protection sent a warning in July to the City of Marathon. Two of the city’s wastewater plants are “significantly” out of compliance. The city took over operation of all its plants from Severn Trent, a contractor in May. Before that, the city’s plants were operated by U.S. Water. Some of the problems in the report pre-date both services.
In Hemeyer’s place, the city has hired Dan Saus, formerly of the operations manager for the Key Largo Wastewater District. His name recently popped in media reports in connection with Wastewater Commissioner Andy Tobin who asked why Saus didn’t warrant a higher salary; at the same time Tobin called for the Key Largo Wastewater District Manager Christian Tobin’s resignation — catching other members of the board off guard.
Saus has signed a letter of intent with the City of Marathon that puts his salary as $102,000. It is not a contract. Saus’ employment has a 90-day probationary period, identical to all other city employees. He is set to begin on Monday, Aug. 17.
According to Puto and Deputy City Manager George Garrett, Saus has decades of experience. Prior to working in Key Largo, he was employed by the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and also helped to design portions of Marathon’s system.
“We are focused on what will move the utility forward and provide excellent service to the taxpayers of Marathon,” Puto said. “We want to look forward, not backward.”