September 30, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain utility head takes North Ridgeville job

LORAIN — Wednesday’s boil alert illustrated Utilities Department Director Corey Timko’s belief that most people take water for granted until there’s a problem getting it.

“There’s not many things in life that you expect to operate 365 days a year without fail, but water is one of them,” he said. “We work hard to make it reliable and safe, and it’s a constant effort.”

Timko’s days running the city’s approximately 115-member department and dealing with problems like the alert, which he said was a precautionary measure due to an electrical outage, end Jan. 31. Timko, who earns about $86,000 annually, is leaving to become North Ridgeville’s wastewater treatment plant superintendent, where he said he will earn about $92,000 annually. Doug Brown, wastewater treatment plant superintendent, will serve as interim director, Timko said.

Timko, a 41-year-old Lorain resident, was hired in 2000 and named director in 2004. The department has an approximately $20 million annual budget and encompasses the engineering, information and technology and sewer and water departments. Timko said he is proud of upgrades made by the department during his tenure to meet federal Clean Water Act laws.

The effort came in a city with an aging infrastructure and little money. Lorain has been under fiscal watch by the state since 2002.

“It’s very challenging because you’re most likely working for a political entity with a large amount of regulatory oversight and you’re in the public eye,” he said. “You have to produce a product under those circumstances and it has to be right all the time.”

After a botched citywide boil alert in 2011, the department was shaken up, and Timko hired Dan McGannon as water plant superintendent. In April, Timko received approval from City Council members to hire a consultant to improve the Utility Department’s efficiency.

While acknowledging there is room for improvement, Timko said the department runs well. Timko said he enjoyed working for Mayor Chase Ritenauer and Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler, but the North Ridgeville job was too good to pass up.

“North Ridgeville’s a wonderful community, and you’ve got to take good opportunities when they come,” he said.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.