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Langley Public Works director resigns

Langley is without a Public Works director for the second time this year following Maria Cablao’s resignation last month.

Cablao, who was on the job for three months, submitted the resignation letter Nov. 4, citing “personal and professional reasons” for her departure. During her short time leading the South Whidbey city’s water, sewer, stormwater and street projects, she proposed rate increases for the city’s utilities which will be adopted into the 2014 budget.

“I know that she was thinking about doing this, I knew about a month before,” said Mayor Fred McCarthy. “I asked her to reconsider and think it over. We were pleased with a number of things she did with the city.”

In the letter, Cablao stated she planned to retire in Langley after a long career in public works in California. She cited personal reasons for vacating the position like desiring to serve people through her Christian faith.

“… after 3 months of strenuously applying myself and praying about what I should do, I have determined that the position is not in balance with my personal goals,” she wrote.

During a budget workshop with the Langley City Council in November, Cablao requested an additional employee for Public Works. McCarthy told the council he was not in favor of increasing the city’s staffing level at the time, essentially denying Cablao’s request. Despite the difference of opinion in that instance, McCarthy said Cablao’s departure was of her own accord.

“It wasn’t anything with us asking her to resign,” McCarthy said, later adding: “I don’t think that factored into it at all.”

The Public Works director duties were assumed by the mayor until the new director, Stan Berryman of Boulder, Colo., begins in January. McCarthy said the Public Works budget is mostly settled and only awaits city council approval, expected at the Dec. 16 meeting.

Berryman will earn $70,273 in salary plus benefits. Cablao was hired with a salary of $68,895 plus benefits.

Langley went through a three-month search for a new Public Works director after Cablao’s predecessor, Challis Stringer, left for a job with Mukilteo’s Public Works department in April. Stringer had served Langley for 10 years in the position.

When Langley picked Cablao, it was after several months and several interviews, and she said she and her husband had wanted to move to Langley for some time as they owned a home in the city. The news of her leaving was a bit of a surprise at first to the mayor.

“We had every expectation that she would find it to be the right match for her,” McCarthy said.

Cablao’s departure is the third loss of a department head since McCarthy was appointed in February. Stringer left in April, former police chief Randy Heston retired in August, and now Cablao.

“You have to look at each change as an opportunity to get better,” McCarthy said. “It certainly isn’t my goal to change a lot of staff members. We have good morale in general in the city.”

 

Community Events, April 2014

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