MOUNT VERNON — The DKMM Solid Waste District will be looking for a new district director by the end of this year. At its meeting on July 21, the Executive Committee went into executive session to discuss the continued employment of director Keith Bailey. After the session, the committee announced the termination of Bailey’s employment as district director, effective Dec. 15. He has been in that position for about 15 years.
DKMM Administrative Assistant Sharon Davis said Bailey participated in the executive session, during which the vote was unanimous to terminate Bailey.
“The story is that in the July 21 board meeting the resolution was made that he would be terminated effective Dec. 15,” Davis said.
Davis said the board would replace Bailey and a search for a new district director would be mounted. She also said the personnel change does not indicate any kind of real policy change by the district.
“I think they will have to hire somebody,” she said. “We have a very small office and that position is responsible for a lot of things.”
Although nothing has been said about the reasons behind Bailey’s termination, the fact that the district will be hiring a replacement indicates the termination was not related to budget cuts.
“We had, last February, cut our budget quite a bit,” Davis said. “A lot of big cuts came during the February meeting.”
Funding for the district comes from one source.
“We get $6 a ton for waste generated in the district,” she said. “So when trash goes to a landfill or a transfer station, that’s what we get as a fee. That’s where we get our funding.”
Knox County Commissioner Teresa Bemiller is one of Knox County’s representatives on the DKMM board.
“It just came between the board and Keith that it might be in everybody’s interest to perhaps move on, and I think he was involved in that discussion,” she said. “I am just coming on [to the board] and I do appreciate what he has done for the [DKMM] Solid Waste District. As far as I am concerned, I wish him the best. I do think he has made contributions, and just think that was the way it went.”
Bemiller said she did not think Bailey’s departure meant any substantial change in the way the district will operate.
“Not at this time,” she said. “There is a new plan that will come due soon. The EPA puts out the guidelines on those plans and our waste district will have to submit a plan. But I’m not aware that we will be going in a very different direction than what we are now.”
The DKMM Solid Waste District is made up of four counties: Delaware, Knox, Marion and Morrow. Formed in 1989 by the county commissioners of those four counties, it is a legal subdivision of the state of Ohio.
The districts are responsible for developing and implementing a solid waste plan for the district based on Ohio Environmental Protection Agency standards. Then OPEA approves each district’s plans and has the authority to fine a district for not implementing its plan.
In the early days of DKMM, Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis was a Knox County Commissioner and fairly involved in the planning of the agency. He was the first chairman of the DKMM Board.
“Keith was hired about the time I left the County Commissioners Office,” Mavis said. “During that time, I was chairman of the policy committee and chairman of the board of directors. My successor [on the Knox County Board of Trustees] Bob Durbin took over and became involved in the hiring process [of Bailey]. But I’ve had the chance to work with him because when I became mayor I went back on the Policy Committee, which is made up of representatives of all four counties and is responsible for putting the plan together. He was very informative and provided the policy committee with a wealth of information. Not only what was happening within the district, but also what was happening in the legislature dealing with solid waste disposal and recycling.
“So I have had the chance to work with him, and I did hear the board decided to go in another direction. I think there have been some issues, but I am not all that privy to all that is happening. But as far as being on the Policy Committee, he did provide a lot of information. Keith was always trying to address all the issues that came up and work with the different departments and the board of health, so he did a lot.”