Last updated: July 25. 2013 9:07AM - 323 Views

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The city of Portsmouth is searching for a new chief operator in their Wastewater Department. The city placed an ad in the Daily Times, recruiting third class operators to apply for the vacancy.

“Merrill Clay left. He went to Fairborn, Ohio,” Wastewater Director Rick Duncan said. “We’re looking for someone with a Class-3 license. We have a Class-3 and a Class-2 that aren’t interested in it. We’re looking for a Class-3 operator to come in and fill that job.”

Duncan said Clay has been in Fairborn for two months and that created the vacancy.

“We’ve got an acting chief operator, but we just want to get somebody with a Class-3 license to run the plant,” Duncan said.

Duncan said plant operators must be Class-1 or above and the department has an operator-trainee program for those interested in the position.

“We can let somebody who doesn’t have a license be an operator, and they are given a period of time — like a year — to get a Class-1 license,” Duncan said. “But, again, the chief operator has to have a Class-3 license. So it’s just a way to make sure we have qualified people in all of our positions in the department. That person would report to me, just like Merrill did.”

Duncan said the city is also advertising in the Operator Training Committee of Ohio and the Ohio Rural Water Association websites for a a chief operator.

The Wastewater Department went through several situations when Duncan was fired the day then-mayor Jane Murray took office, sending that department into a tailspin as the city attempted to operate the plant without Duncan. At one point, Randy Nickles assumed the job, but later made a decision not to continue. Meanwhile, with the recall of Murray and the establishment of the David Malone administration, Duncan returned to the job.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.

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