Replacing 17 years of experience isn't easy, but Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi is close to finishing the task.
Teresi said as soon as Monday's City Council meeting he could possibly be naming a nominee to fill the vacant position on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. The position was vacated after Fred Larson accepted Teresi's nomination to be the second full-time city judge in April. City Council has to approve the mayor's candidate before the nominee can join the BPU board.
Teresi said he has had discussions with several potential candidates during the past several weeks.
"It has been a hard process. I have had some people who fit the bill, but cannot fit the time commitment into their life and their schedule," he said. "We have some that have the interest and the time, and I'm narrowing in on the search. Hopefully by the next City Council meeting (Monday), or the one after that in July, we will get the position filled, and get them on board."
Teresi said whomever is approved to be the next BPU board member will have "big shoes to fill" in replacing Larson. Larson has been on the BPU board twice, once from 1979-89 and his second tenure from 2008 to April.
"Fred was an outstanding and extremely involved board member," Teresi said. "He had an invaluable wealth of experience that will be impossible to replicate."
Teresi said he has five personal qualities he looks for when searching for a candidate for a board like the BPU. He said first they have to be deeply rooted in the city.
"They have to be committed to the city and committed to using these five tremendous taxpayer-owned assets the BPU manages," Teresi said about the BPU's five utilities - district heating, electric, solid waste, wastewater and water.
Teresi said the candidate must also be committed to regional cooperation and economic development; understand the need to continue investing in BPU infrastructure; understand the need to market the city-owned utilities; and understands the importance of customer service.
"I'm just not looking for an attorney to replace an attorney," Teresi said about Larson, who had operated a local law practice for more than 37 years before accepting the judge position.
Once the new board members is selected and approved by City Council, they will finish the remainder of Larson's four-year term, which was renewed in January.