Sunday, October 8, 2023–2:38 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Last Thursday’s Rome Water and Sewer Committee meeting was the last for Water and Sewer Division Director Mike Hackett.
Hackett has accepted a job in Okaloosa County, Florida.
“I think it’s going to be a great step for me professionally, personally, and for my family as well,” he said. “Of course, it’s bittersweet. There is so much about Rome that I’m going to miss. I have so many roots and ties here.”
During Thursday’s meeting, Rome City Manager Sammy Rich said Hackett is “leaving us in better shape than he found us.”
“I certainly wish Mike the best,” Rich added. “We are certainly going to miss his knowledge, leadership, and dedication to Rome water and sewer. He has really positioned our community to be ready for the future, as we look toward reverse osmosis, specifically. Mike has had a great understanding of the technology and what it’s going to take.”
According to Assistant Rome City Attorney Frank Beacham, Hackett played a key role in the water litigation settlement with several companies over Per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in Rome’s water supply.
“Invaluable is the word,” Beacham said. “We couldn’t have done it without him. His knowledge of water and wastewater is wide and deep. Then, for topics he wasn’t familiar with, where he needed to be a spokesman for the entire City of Rome, he educated himself and became an expert. It was exactly what you need from your star witness in litigation.”
Hackett’s work helped pave the way for a new reverse osmosis water treatment facility, being funded by the settlements.
However, according to Hackett, he is most proud of the team at the team at the water and sewer department.
“What I walk away with pride about is the group of people we’ve assembled.” He said. “We have so many people who are committed and dedicated to doing this work, and they’ve been here for so long.”
Hackett also cited improvements to the distribution system that have brought the number of customer calls down as another point of pride during his time as director.
Hackett was already a 15-year veteran of the department when he was selected to succeed Leigh Ross as director in August 2015. He was the assistant director at the time of Ross’ retirement.