City to begin looking at ways to replace water plant superintendent

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2003

Ironton officials will have to begin the search for a new water plant superintendent soon, but may be able to fill the void with a current city employee if granted approval by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Jennifer Donahue, a class 4 certified superintendent, informed Mayor Bob Cleary earlier this week that she will be leaving later this summer because her husband, Kevin, an employee for Sherwin-Williams Co., has been transferred to Lynchburg, Va.

Since she is not sure of an exact date when she will leave, Donahue said she will stay on through the end of June.

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Hired in March of 1996, Donahue, a life-long resident of Lawrence County, said she will miss her friends and family the most.

Mayor Cleary said Donahue has been an excellent employee and will be missed.

"I think she will be a major loss for the city," he said. "We had a lot of water problems before she came on. She has been able to get the plant totally in compliance and saved the city a lot of money by having innovative ideas. We wish she could stay with us forever, but she cannot."

Cleary said he requested information from the EPA on Wednesday to see if the plant can now be operated by someone with a class 3 certification, if the city hires a consultant to sign off on the monthly report.

The primary difference between class 3 and 4 certifications are that class 4 requires supervisor experience and some writing requirements, in addition to the state certifications, Donahue said.

If the EPA approves, John Schwab, facilities manager for the city, may operate the plant at least on a temporary basis. Schwab has operated the water plant in the past and is already certified as a class 3 operator of water and waste water plants, Cleary said.