First, though, the board voted on hiring a new executive director, as the position was left vacant when James Cooper left abruptly in late April.
There were 27 applicants for the position, some from as far away as Washington, Colorado and New York. There were accountants, engineers, business owners and administrators.
In the mix was Interim Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico. Banson-Verrico has been with the Authority for 14 years, most recently as the accounting manager, and has been acting as interim director while the search for a new director was undertaken.
It was immediately obvious that Banson-Verrico was the favored choice of the board.
“The main thing that that person has to communicate is the safety, the engineering, the marketing to the residents of all of these islands that are part of the legislation,” said Ginger Watkins, enumerating just a few of the duties that come with the position. “And it’s clear in there (the announcement of the job opening) that their job is to let the people who live, work and go across those bridges every day know that they’re safe, that the toll is the most responsible and appropriate toll. And that communication, that taking care of the customers is, I think, the primary responsibility of the executive director. I add my support to Kathy, because I believe that this is Kathy’s strongest suit. She communicates to every person that calls or comes through that toll plaza that they are safe, that the tolls are appropriate, and that she is ethically, legally and openly doing her job.
“There are some very well-qualified people in the applicants, but if you look at the totality of the job that needs to be done and the timing of the new bridges being open in the next couple of years, and the tremendous experience that Kathy’s got … there is no question in my mind, we should be delighted that there is someone here who is ready to step into that job,” said Lee Major. I think that everyone here would agree that she has done that, and I would like to offer my whole-hearted support for her to be hired as executive director.”
The vote to hire Banson-Verrico was unanimous.
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