Paul Gardner

Harper to water board: don’t “neuter” your CEO

Harper to water board: don’t “neuter” your CEO

Employee hiring, firing and demoting practices dragged the Holley Navarre Water System board of directors into infighting once more at their Oct. 15 board meeting. At issue was what is CEO Rob Williamson’s line of authority on the matter following his demotion of a longtime employee. To clarify his role, board director Yvonne Harper recommended […]

Holley Navarre Water System: Past, present, future

Holley Navarre Water System: Past, present, future

As the election of four new members to the Holley Navarre Water System’s board of directors draws near, discussions of the utility have flared on social media, in conversations and even in the Board of County Commissioners’ chambers. The candidates chosen Jan. 15 will act as the leadership entity for a water system that serves […]

My town

My town

I am the Holley Navarre Water System board director who voted against hiring Rob Williamson as CEO of the utility. My friends and family keep asking me, “why don’t you just quit? You have nothing to gain and nothing is going to change.” My answer is because this is my town. I got my first […]

Water System approves proposed budget

Water System approves proposed budget

Holley Navarre Water System’s (HNWS) Board of Directors may have been skating on thin legal ice Dec. 18 as they voted to approve a budget for 2019, possibly in violation of the utility’s bylaws. While historically the budget has been approved in December for the past decade, board member Daryl Lynchard questioned whether that practice […]

Utility gives Williamson free rein on travel

Utility gives Williamson free rein on travel

With a new travel budget equal to the $50,000 a year authorized for the entire Santa Rosa County Commission, new Holley Navarre Water System CEO Rob Williamson doesn’t need pre-approval for out-of-town trips to lobby or for other purposes. Although volunteer utility board President Will Goulet told the Navarre Press that the $50,000 isn’t a […]

Gardner reflects on 33 year career before retirement

Gardner reflects on 33 year career before retirement

On an evening in 1995, Paul Gardner and his wife were cresting the top of the Navarre Beach bridge when they spotted a breathtaking view, thousands of lights along the coastal community known as Navarre. The couple were headed home from a celebratory dinner. Gardner had just secured a promotion to Operations Manager at Holley […]

County holds ex-commissioner at arm’s length

County holds ex-commissioner at arm’s length

Wary of violating a Florida statute about consorting with former colleagues, Santa Rosa officials are carefully avoiding work-related contact with Rob Williamson, the new CEO of Holley Navarre Water System. Keeping Williamson at arm’s length has already required dodging an overture last week to tour Holley Navarre Water’s facilities on Turkey Bluff Road along with […]

Williamson hire riles water system members

Williamson hire riles water system members

The Holley Navarre Water System Board of Directors met criticism from a packed boardroom over its closed-door hiring of former District 4 County Commissioner Rob Williamson. Water system members voiced their concerns at a meeting Nov. 20. held in advance of a January election in which four seats on the board are up for grabs. […]

New managers on tap at Holley Navarre Water

New managers on tap at Holley Navarre Water

  In the wake of an accident that cost Holley Navarre Water System at least at least a quarter of its sewage treatment capacity and perhaps more than $1 million in repairs, one manager has been terminated and another will retire. Board member Brett Ramsey told the Navarre Press that Zach Lewis, the wastewater plant […]

Fairpoint’s finances get big boost

Fairpoint’s finances get big boost

The collective of utilities that supplies Holley Navarre Water System has discovered a line of low-interest credit that can apparently be used to cover much of its infrastructure costs for years to come. John Grant, the volunteer president of Fairpoint Regional Utility System, told the Navarre Press: “We found a million dollars that we didn’t […]

Water utility accident prompts state inquiry

Water utility accident prompts state inquiry

Holley Navarre Water System has lost at least a quarter of its wastewater treatment capacity due to an operator’s mistake at the utility’s main plant on Sept. 24 and state regulators are requesting details. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has written a letter to HNWS General Manager Paul Gardner seeking “a report of the […]

Entrepreneurs must navigate obstacle course to succeed

Entrepreneurs must navigate obstacle course to succeed

In a lot of ways, Santa Rosa County is approaching small business the right way. That’s the opinion of Debbie Rogers-Guinn, the owner of Deb’s Coffee in Navarre. “They were really supportive of us from the very beginning and throughout,” she said. After seven years, Rogers-Guinn and her husband are currently seeking to move their […]

Water system relaxes meter policy

Water system relaxes meter policy

Holley Navarre Water System customers may be off the hook for water meter repairs under the company’s new policy approved Aug. 21. Previously, new customers were required to sign a form that could hold them liable for any damage to the meters whether they caused it or not. Read the full article in the Aug. […]

Saltwater intrusion continuing concern for Holley Navarre Water

Saltwater intrusion continuing concern for Holley Navarre Water

Seven times in the past nine years, Holley Navarre Water System’s (HNWS) sodium levels have exceeded the maximum contaminant level set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). HNWS General Manager Paul Gardner said saltwater intrusion is a common problem for water systems in the area. Read the full article in the July 12 […]

Eglin nears land lease offer to HNWS

Eglin nears land lease offer to HNWS

The wastewater disposal solution long sought for Holley Navarre Water System (HNWS) at Eglin Air Force Base is now taking shape. In negotiation for years, a lease for spraying on Eglin acreage is considered by HNWS management and Santa Rosa County officials as the best way to satisfy regulators’ requirements for effluent disposal capacity. Read […]

Water board seeks substance amid squabbling

Water board seeks substance amid squabbling

While grappling with issues that could affect how much Holley Navarre Water System ratepayers are charged in the future, the volunteer board that supposedly reached harmony in a January election shake-up has become a familiar war zone with new combatants. “It’s a mess,” said James Calkins, the president who succeeded Bien May this year. Read […]

Holley Navarre wary of effluent spraying deal

Holley Navarre wary of effluent spraying deal

Once closely allied, Holley Navarre Water System and the City of Gulf Breeze are now at arm’s length. Not only is the revamped board of HNWS backing away from a proposed contract under which it would have paid an estimated $8 million dollars over two decades to spray treated wastewater on land that the city’s […]

Water board attorney quits amid legal fee questions

Water board attorney quits amid legal fee questions

Michael Tidwell, attorney for Holley Navarre Water System, resigned as legal counsel to the board Jan. 26, effective Feb. 1, amid a mounting call for an accounting of legal fees paid to the attorney. The amount of legal fees paid to Tidwell in 2017 has been a sticking point in his relationship with the new […]

Fairpoint’s finances raise questions

Fairpoint’s finances raise questions

The concerns that prompted Gulf Breeze-based officials of Fairpoint Regional Utility System to press for a controversial debt restructuring last year have largely drowned in black ink. Also gone—at least for now—are fears that an increase in the price of water that Fairpoint sells to the collective’s members, such as Holley Navarre Water System, could […]

Basis for Litigation at Holley Navarre Water System

Basis for Litigation at Holley Navarre Water System

The Sept. 19, 2017, Holley Navarre Water System board meeting was peculiar in several respects. For the first time in months, all members were present. The meeting was contentious, filled with outbursts and accusations, open hostility, and President Bien May clearly lost control of the meeting; indeed, at times he personally joined in the unseemly […]

Water works 101

Water works 101

Before 1970, residents of Holley used pitcher pumps for their water source. But a small group of Holley residents saw the need for potable water and stepped forward to form what is the Holley Navarre Water System. With funding from the Farmers’ Home Administration, they began laying the pipes to bring water into their homes. […]

Holley Navarre Water says hydrants on horizon

Holley Navarre Water says hydrants on horizon

Questions have arisen recently about a lack of fire hydrants in areas of Navarre following a house fire on Tupelo Drive Nov. 22. The lack of hydrants in the area made fighting the fire more difficult for Holley Navarre Fire District, forcing the teams to depend on their tanker trucks for water. In fact, there […]

A house burned – where are the fire hydrants?

A house burned – where are the fire hydrants?

Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, a home on Tupelo Street burned. It was fully involved when the Holley Navarre Fire District and other agencies arrived – and what they discovered was not unusual for them. There was no fire hydrant on the street. Instead of hooking up to a hydrant to fight the fire, they had to […]

Sunshine Law cloudy for Fairpoint Regional

Sunshine Law cloudy for Fairpoint Regional

While a recent unannounced gathering of some Fairpoint Regional Utility Service directors may appear to have violated Florida’s Sunshine Law, some are questioning their obligation to meet in public. In fact, Holley Navarre Water’s president, Bien May—who is also a Fairpoint director–when asked by a reporter recently whether the Sunshine Law applies to the boards […]

Kelly abruptly removed from Holley Navarre Water board

Kelly abruptly removed from Holley Navarre Water board

Under accusations that Holley Navarre Water System board members Brian Kelly and James Calkins “colluded with his (Calkins) brother-in-law to get Brian Kelly services” at the address listed for Kelly’s water service, a motion was made by Troy Bossier to rescind his membership certificate and remove him from the board. The motion passed with two […]

Water board under Sunshine Law scrutiny

Water board under Sunshine Law scrutiny

Allegations that three of Fairpoint Regional Utility’s seven board members violated Florida’s Sunshine Law by meeting in private last month are under review by the State Attorney’s Office in Pensacola. “The only thing I can say at this time is I can confirm that we have received a copy of the complaint regarding the Sunshine […]

Suspicions rile water board

Suspicions rile water board

The rebellion among Holley Navarre Water System board members against proposed debt restructuring by the collective that supplies their water focuses on concerns that the motive behind the deal is actually to enrich the City of Gulf Breeze. “It’s a money grab,” said Brian Kelly, an HNWS director and finance committee chairman in an email […]

Winds of change buffet water board

Winds of change buffet water board

The fractious fraternity that makes up the seven-member board of Holley Navarre Water System is becoming more strident with almost every monthly meeting and the delicate balance of voting power may be in for a shake-up. That’s partly because the utility’s board elections scheduled for January could bring the return of Daryl Lynchard, the board […]

Water utilities to gamble on more debt

Water utilities to gamble on more debt

Failing to set aside funds for emergencies has previously meant a financing scramble for the utility collective that provides water to south Santa Rosa, and now officials think they see a solution: take on about $4 million in long-term debt. Though perhaps unlikely at first glance, the strategy of Holley Navarre Water System and the […]