Brains behind sewage snafu "retires" in St. Pete

click to enlarge Brains behind sewage snafu "retires" in St. Pete - youtube.com
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Brains behind sewage snafu "retires" in St. Pete

In the wake of Shitgate 2015/PooNami, the city has announced St. Petersburg Public Works Administrator Mike Connors' "retirement" (emphasis ours) today.

Although Mayor Rick Kriseman's office would not say whether or not Connors' retirement had to do with a series of shitty decisions — Connors ordered the early-August pumping of 15.4 million gallons of untreated sewage into Clam Bayou, the last remaining tidal estuary on Boca Ciega Bay, and more into the waters surrounding Eckerd College — the timing seems right. 

Connors said the decision to end his three-decade career with St. Petersburg came after a whole weekend of thinking.


click to enlarge Among the many issues circling the drain in ShitGate 2015 was Connors' insistence that the sewage had received treatment before discharge; photos like the one shown above indicated otherwise. Initial claims of discharged sewage in Frenchman's Creek being reclaimed water quickly proved false. - Cathy Salustri
Cathy Salustri
Among the many issues circling the drain in ShitGate 2015 was Connors' insistence that the sewage had received treatment before discharge; photos like the one shown above indicated otherwise. Initial claims of discharged sewage in Frenchman's Creek being reclaimed water quickly proved false.
"After a weekend of contemplation, I decided to discuss my retirement with Mayor Kriseman this morning," Connors said in a media release. "Following our discussion, the mayor and I have mutually agreed to my retirement, effective today. I look forward to new adventures and challenges, as well as more time with my wife and family. I thank the city for the opportunity to serve for nearly three decades."

Gulfport officials closed the city's portion of Clam Bayou and Boca Ciega Bay on August 4; Eckerd College closed Frenchman's Creek and an area known as "south beach" on August 7 (we're assuming new students received the state-mandated "warning: water has crap in it" notice when they received their $26,000 tuition receipt, which could only have pleased their parents). Eckerd reopened Frenchman's Creek for swimming on August 13; Gulfport reopened its beaches on August 11. The Gulfport Municipal Marina and Clam Bayou remain closed. 

In what one can only assume was a carefully worded press release, Kriseman said Connors made "immeasurable contributions" to St. Petersburg over the past three decades, and wished him well "in the next chapter of his life."

We'd also like to wish Connors well in whatever he does next, just as long as he doesn't have any control over human waste or its final destination.

Connor has also caught fire in recent months over a few other issues within the city, including the Pier selection process and the rollout of a citywide curbside recycling program.

About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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