The executive director of the embattled Sonoma County Waste Management Agency is resigning, citing the agency's uncertain future, which is clouded by an ongoing legal battle and questions over whether it will exist in two years time.
Henry Mikus announced his decision in a letter to the agency's 10-member board last week, noting that he has accepted the position of engineering manager for the City of Sebastopol.
Mikus, who has lead the agency since 2011, cited in his letter the "very uncertain future for the agency" as well as his "desire to provide stability while my youngest child completes his schooling."
Mikus was a public works director in Virginia before taking the helm of the waste agency. He has a 16-year-old son who is a junior at El Molino High School.
He said the time seemed right for a change given that his contract with the agency is up in December and the entity's board remains split on what the agency's role should be past February 2017.
That's expiration date of the 1992 deal between local cities and the county to form the agency in order to coordinate and promote regional recycling efforts.
Discussions have been underway about how the agency's core functions -- facilitating the composting green waste, disposing of hazardous waste, public education and reporting to the state -- can be accomplished through a revised joint-powers authority or by other entities.
The agency is talking with Sonoma County about having Republic Services, the county landfill operator, take over some of its functions. Another regional public agency, the Regional Climate Protection Authority, could handle future public education and policy functions.
Complicating matters for the waste agency has been an ongoing legal fight over the compost operation it oversees at the county's landfill west of Cotati. The green waste operation, now set to shut down by October, has been the subject of two lawsuits brought by landfill neighbors.
Given that backdrop, Mikus's doesn't come as much of a surprise, said Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt.