Executive Director of Water Authority resigns just days after taking over

John Mye III leaving post at water authority

February 13, 2019 - 12:23 pm

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The executive director of the Erie County Water Authority has resigned.

The Erie County Water Authority confirmed to WBEN in a statement saying that John Mye III is leaving his post after serving on it for only four days. Mye is reportedly leaving due to "personal reasons"

"It's unfortunate," Jerome Schad, Commissioner of the ECWA, said. "We were looking forward to a good relationship going forward. What we will do, and do it right away, is commence a national search for a new director. 

Mye became the executive director on February 9. Mye is a licensed professional engineer and financial executive and was selected by the water authority to be its executive director on January 8. According to the water authority, he was responsible for the overall management of the organization's operations, strategic and financial planning, and was to report to the board of commissioners. 

Erie County Legislator Tom Loughran says this is a shocking development that certainly doesn't look good, but he did say this incident is not an indictment on the commissioners who made the hire.

"It's disturbing news, we don't know much, and I was advocating for reforms at the Water Authority, and this was a step in the right direction, so I would say it's a setback," said Loughran. "I think [the commissioners] got it right. He was credentialed and he wasn't politically connected."

Robert Lichenthal will, once again, take over interim executive director duties.

"I think it's our credibility as individuals from the commissioners when we interview that will be important," Schad said when asked if Mye's resignation will sway those away from seeking this position. "The three commissioners, I thought, did a very thorough job when we interviewed the last group of candidates. I think we've developed a trust level with potential candidates."

The search for a new executive director should take about 60 days to complete. Schad said he wants the job search to begin anew and not rely on the last list of candidates. 

"We will continue to move forward and I intend to continue working on infrastructure issues as a priority," Schad said. "Modernization is a priority and restructuring with our reforms. We have a number of them in the pipeline. We are going to continue with reforms at the water authority."

The following is the statement from John Mye on his resignation

Due to unforeseen personal matters, I am resigning as executive director of the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA) effective Friday, February 15, 2019. After my very brief time at the ECWA discovering the full magnitude of the responsibilities of the position, and after close consultation with my family, I have determined that due to this personal matter it is in the best interests of myself and the ECWA to resign. The ECWA and its ratepayers deserve to have an executive director that can fully meet the rigorous daily demands of leading the largest public water utility in the region.I want to extend my gratitude to the ECWA board of commissioners and senior management who were extremely professional during my hiring process.  They also were very understanding of the unforeseen personal circumstances resulting in my resignation. Along these lines, in the short time I was at the ECWA, I came away very impressed with its operations.  The organization is well managed, and I am confident that the leadership at ECWA will select a highly qualified individual that will continue to lead the organization in a positive direction.”

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