The Suffolk County Legislature on March 5 in a unanimous vote reappointed James F. Gaughran as Chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority. Gaughran, who was appointed to the SCWA Board in 2008 and named chairman in 2010, will serve a second five-year term.
Gaughran, of Northport, has led SCWA successfully through substantial fiscal challenges resulting from the economic collapse of 2008, including spiraling upward costs of employee pensions and health care costs. To meet these challenges, Gaughran has focused on creative strategies for raising revenues and aggressive cost-cutting measures.
SCWA staff has been trimmed from 601 employees in 2010 to 576 today; additionally, the annual capital budget has been cut from a high of $67.8 million in 2010 to $58.6 million this year, and overtime has been cut from $2.2 million to $1.6 million.
“Jim inherited a tough situation, but through tremendous leadership, has helped us to substantially cut costs of our operations without limiting our ability to continue to supply some of the best water in the country at among the lowest rates in the metropolitan New York area,” said SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Szabo.
“I was glad to sponsor the resolution to reappoint Mr. Gaughran as chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority,” said Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer William J. Lindsay. “Mr. Gaughran has done a solid job during his tenure as chairman and I am sure he is up to facing the substantial challenges he faces in trying to ensure that our sole source aquifer is properly protected for future generations.”
“I’m proud to be given the opportunity to lead SCWA for another five years,” Gaughran said. “We’ve had to make some tough decisions, but we’ve made them carefully, and, as a result I feel we’re operating more efficiently than in the past but with the same commitment to providing top quality service to our customers.”
Prior to his service on the SCWA Board, Gaughran, among many other public sector appointments, served on the Huntington Town Board from 1984 through 1987 and on the Suffolk Legislature from 1988 through 1993. During his tenure on the Legislature, the body aggressively supported and funded the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program.
The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.