Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility General Manager Rodney L. Dahl, who manages a multimillion-dollar sanitary waste-disposal facility for seven local entities, admitted Wednesday he lied about having an engineering degree and being a licensed engineer.
But he will be retained in his position - for the time being, anyway.At least two board members want Dahl to answer other questions about his spending practices, travel time and management style.
Dahl sent a letter of apology to the seven-member board following the board's April 5 closed meeting that concluded a six-month scrutiny of Dahl's leadership and qualifications.
In the letter, which Dahl restated publicly again Wednesday, he said he received an engineering degree from the University of Utah and held state professional licenses to practice.
"Neither was the case, and it is with a great deal of humility that I sincerely apologize for that remark," he wrote.
Despite the apology, board member Jim Ellis, who represents the Salt Lake Suburban Sanitary District No. 1, was able to amend the March minutes to include a verbatim transcription of the conversation discussing Dahl's qualifications.
With that, other board members said they feel the matter has been resolved.
"I was saddened that he was not truthful with the board, but the board accepts his apology and is putting the matter at rest," said South Salt Lake Mayor Jim Davis, who's been highly critical of Dahl's management of the facility.
Board Chairman Ethan Woodbury concurred the degree controversy has been settled. "He's done a hell of a job for the district," Woodbury said. "Except for this one mistake, he's done a great job for us."
Nonetheless, Woodbury said Dahl's efforts will be scrutinized again in July when the board undertakes its annual evaluation of the general manager. He said the degree, or lack of one, will not be discussed again.
But Ellis said while Dahl probably has enough support from other board members to weather the current controversy, he promises to keep the pressure on in future reviews.
"The general manager is in charge of this whole operation," Ellis said. "If he lies to the board now, how can we trust him in the future?"
Ellis said he believes the Dahl is not making an honest effort to reduce district spending and costs, and that he has turned the general manager's position into a political rather than administrative post. He added that Central Valley is top heavy with over-paid administrators, and that the district could save substantial money by privatizing some operations.