Partners discuss making CLEAR Project coordinator position part-time

CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake Enhancement and Restoration Project continues to look for a new watershed coordinator and a recent proposal would change the scope of the position.

Currently, the director’s position is a full-time job with benefits, but recent discussions with interested partners have resulted in moving toward making the job a part-time position with a reduction in salary and benefits of about $40,000.

Margo Underwood with the Association for the Preservation of Clear Lake says while the job would move to part-time, the coordinator would still be key in promoting the vision of the CLEAR Project.  “The watershed coordinator would be responsible for completion of community stewardship events or projects including conducting volunteer events and managing volunteers and the associated outreach, publicity and administrative duties necessary to ensure program success and grant compliance. The coordinator will actively work with the advisory board to plan and help develop funding for current and future initiatives in support of the Watershed Strategic Plan.”

The coordinator would be under the direct supervision of the Clear Lake city administrator and indirect supervision of an advisory board comprised of representatives from the cities of Clear Lake and Ventura, Cerro Gordo County, the Association for the Preservation of Clear Lake, and the Cerro Gordo and Hancock County Soil and Water Conservation Boards. Underwood says state natural resources leaders say they support moving the position from full-time to part-time.  “They’re all in favor of this type of arrangement moving forward. They see all the great work that’s been done through the partnership, and they are strong proponents that we need to continue to move forward with the work that’s needed in the watershed.”

Currently, the county and the city of Clear Lake each contribute $15,000 towards the operation of the CLEAR Project, with the city of Ventura contributing $5000. Cerro Gordo County Supervisor Casey Callanan of Clear Lake affirmed the board’s support of the project.  “I definitely see the benefit that the organization and the coordinator brings. Not to mention it’s the right thing to do, but the amount of money that natural resource generates for our community is exponential.”

Underwood and Callanan made their comments during a recent workshop session of the Board of Supervisors.

Jim Sholly was the CLEAR Project coordinator for six years, but left the position in May 2022 to become the Geographic Information Systems Coordinator with Cerro Gordo County.