Luckino To Leave Hi-Desert Water District For Blythe

(May 3YUCCA VALLEY—In an unexpected move, Hi-Desert Water District Assistant General Manager and chief financial officer Frank Luckino resigned his position effective next week to take a lower paying position with the city of Blythe.
A former Yucca Valley councilman, Luckino in making the announcement suggested he was making the transition as part of a strategy to eventually achieve his career goal of becoming a city manager.
Luckino’s departure from the water district comes as that entity is struggling with the financial challenges of having Yucca Valley comply with a state mandate to convert from its traditional septic systems to a sewer system in several phases over the next decade.
Town voters last year voted down a sales tax measure put forth by town officials which those officials said would be primarily devoted to funding the sewer program. The water district is set to be the lead agency in the provision of the new sanitation system. As the water district’s chief financial officer, Luckino was faced with the daunting assignment of meeting capital improvement goals for the district while keeping its operational funds solvent.
Luckino, who was hired as the Hi-Desert Water District’s chief financial officer in March 2009,  has continued his education and is due to receive a masters degree in public administration with an emphasis in policy and governance this year.
He will go to work as finance director in Blythe. The position he now has with the water district pays $139,000 in salary plus benefits. The bottom rung salary for finance director in Blythe is $94,000 per year. The current top pay salary level for the same position after accruing experience and seniority is $117,000.
With the combination of his seven years on the city council, his experience with the water district and his masters degree, Luckino is hopeful he can eventually parlay his position in Blythe to a promotion to deputy or assistant city manager, putting himself in position to land a top administrative post with some municipality.
Luckino is now finalizing the water district’s proposed 2013-14 budget. He is set to leave for Blythe, where he intends to move his family, on June 6.

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