Murphys hires sanitary chief

By Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat April 09, 2013 08:10 am

Murphys Sanitary District introduced new general manager Scott Mills to the public Monday morning at a Board of Directors meeting.

Mills, 39, began work March 28 and most recently served as director of maintenance and operations for the Calaveras Unified School District.


He will earn $76,500 annually.

Mills spent about 10 years at the school district with a stint in the middle overseeing the water and sewage plant in West Point for the Calaveras County Water District.

“(I was) looking for a change and I have extensive licensing and certifications for water and wastewater,” Mills said. “It’s a change of pace. I like it here. I’m very pleased to be here.”

Mills takes the helm following the retirement of Julio Guerra. Guerra joined the district in January 2012 and tried to get it back on better footing after years of regulatory non-compliance and massive turnover on the Board of Directors.

About a quarter of the current $1 million annual budget went to removal of improperly stored sewage sludge in September, a messy process that led to turbulent board meetings. He announced his resignation in August and remained as a part-time interim general manager on a contract basis until Mills’ hiring.

Mills said he is aware of the district’s previous troubles but is confident those are now a thing of the past.

“I did my homework,” he said. “I’m excited about our future. I’m excited for the next few years. They’ve done a good job setting the stage for positive change … and I look forward to carrying on that momentum.”

In February, the district received confirmation it will receive a $335,000 grant to begin designing upgrades to its sewage treatment plant. The district considered a moratorium on new connections last year because its plant is at capacity.

Mills said continuing progress toward those upgrades, as well as improvements in the collection system, will be his top priority.

“(Mills is) working very properly, very well, and we’re very pleased with the results,” said board president Delma Harris. “We have a very efficient new general manager.”

Mills and his wife of 12 years have three children, ages 10, 8 and 6, who attend CUSD schools and make their home in San Andreas.

The Murphys Sanitary District serves about 1,800 households.