Rend Lake names new manager

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

WHITTINGTON, Ill. -- The Rend Lake Conservancy District board named engineer and Colorado utilities manager Keith Thomason as its new general manager Tuesday. The board unanimously picked Thomason to replace Glenn Poshard, who took over as the district's interim manger in July.

The complex in Franklin and Jefferson counties provides water to 160,000 people in Southern Illinois. The district is supported by water fees and revenue generated by the 19,000-acre Rend Lake and resort.

At his current job in Colorado Springs, Colo., Thomason oversees water treatment plants, power plants and wastewater treatment facilities, Poshard said. Thomason also helps manage golf courses and recreational areas.

"He's an excellent choice because he has expertise in areas of water treatment and tourism," Poshard said.

Thomason is the technical service manager at Colorado Springs Utilities, according to the Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale.

Thomason, who begins his new position Jan. 1, will have plenty of work to do at Rend Lake. An audit found the district had been mismanaged for years, lacking such basics as a budget and a systematic way to bill some water customers. The audit was ordered after former general manager Kevin Davis was fired in April 2003 for allegedly mishandling nearly $500,000 in district money. Davis has not been charged with any crime and he contends he did nothing wrong.

The U.S. Attorney's office, the Internal Revenue Service and the FBI are investigating the district.

The board received about 75 applications and interviewed six candidates for the general manager position, which has an annual salary ranging from $80,000 to $110,000.

A message left for a Thomason in Colorado Springs was not immediately returned Tuesday.

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