The governing board of the Dade County Water Authority announced at a special called meeting on Tuesday the name of the Alabama man it has selected to head up the local water company: Jeff Pendergrass.
Pendergrass, 47, is currently the water plants superintendent for the Scottsboro (Ala.) Water, Sewer and Gas Board. He has 26 years of experience in public water, having previously been employed by the Northwest Alabama Water District in Fort Payne as a meter reader, serviceman and compliance officer before moving on to a position as water treatment plant operator for the Fort Payne Water Department and the Municipal Utilities Board of Albertville, Ala.
He also worked as a chemical sales representative for Cedar Chem LLC in Cedartown, Ga., and later as water treatment plant superintendent for Fort Payne Water Works and Decatur (Ala.) Utilities.
Pendergrass is a native of Rainsville, where he graduated from Plainview High School. He holds an associate degree in mathematics from Northeast Alabama Community College and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Athens (Ala.) State University.
Pendergrass, reached by phone today as he was driving, obligingly snapped the above selfie for The Planet. He said he was looking forward to moving to Dade County, where he will start his new job at Dade Water on May 1. He said he'd always liked Dade, which he habitually observed from the car while driving through to Chattanooga. "It's been on my radar most of my life," he said.
Why move to Dade now? Pendergrass explained that he was eligible to retire from Alabama after 25 years of service and it seemed a good opportunity to start a second career in a new state. "The timing was right," he said.
Pendergrass will have a month to work with current water company manager Doug Anderton before Anderton retires in June after holding his job for 48 years.
Pendergrass takes the reins at a time of upheaval at the water board. Local legislation is pending to reshuffle the board after its controversial decision to pay $400,000 of borrowed money toward the county's purchase of a $500,000 tract of land for a proposed eventual reservoir on Lookout Creek.