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Veolia Water advertising for S'side project manager

With no official deal yet in place, Veolia Water is already advertising on its company website for a water and sewer systems project manager for the City of Sunnyside.

The City of Sunnyside has been looking at privatizing its water system for some time now. At Tuesday night's workshop, Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell recommended the city enter into an agreement with Veolia Water, a French owned company with its North America headquarters in Texas. The Sunnyside City Council is not officially scheduled to make a decision on whether or not to privatize the water operations until the Monday, Feb. 28, meeting.

The job was posted on Veolia Water's website Wednesday, Feb. 16.

Mayor Ed Prilucik said Council found out about the job posting on Veolia Water's website earlier this week.

"If Veolia Water or any other potential city contractor desires to solicit applications for a potential job it is really up to them," said Prilucik. "I don't believe that the posting of this job will have any influence on the Council's decision concerning the issue."

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell said he is certain that Veolia Water is posting the position just to be ready if the company gets the contract from the city.

"Accepting applications does not bind them to hire anyone," said Stockwell. "It simply gets a headstart on the process if they get the contract."

The job qualifications for the position of project manager, which will provide the oversight of employees at the Sunnyside site, if Council does agree to privatize, is to have either a high school diploma or GED plus five years of equivalent experience in various combinations of progressive water/wastewater facility management, and college education in science or engineering programs. Other qualifications sought in candidates are good computer skills, such as word processing and excel spreadsheet applications. Applicants must also have a valid driver's license, and must be able to respond effectively to emergency situations during normally scheduled "off duty" hours."

Under the job description, the project manager will be responsible for all aspects of the contract and facilities as assigned.

The job description also covers specific responsibilities, including financial management of the operation, regulatory compliance, staff development and training, client relations, facility management and general business support.

Christie Kaluza of Veolia Water said the normal practice of her firm when negotiating a contract with a municipality is the city government wants to generally know who the management team is going to be. With this in mind, Veolia Water searches for candidates to present to the governing bodies of the municipalities that will make up the management team. Veolia Water did have an internal candidate identified to take over as project manager in Sunnyside, but for personal reasons this individual was unable to take the position. Kaluza said this sparked the job posting.

"We are putting together a pool of internal and external candidates," said Kaluza.

Kaluza said Sunnyside city officials have expressed their desire to be part of the hiring process for the project manager position. Kaluza said Veolia Water is hoping to get some qualified candidates applying for the position that the company can use even if the Sunnyside City Council doesn't approve the privatization contract.

"We are always in search of good managers," said Kaluza.

Kaluza said by posting the position of project manager before the contract is approved, Veolia Water is just taking necessary steps to be prepared to take over operations of the system as soon as possible.

"We certainly want to be prepared," said Kaluza.

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