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WMEL Water, Sewer Authority names GM

Special to the Enquirer  

The Board of Directors of the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority has announced Jeaniece Slater as the new general manager of the authority, effective Jan. 1, 2021.  

The board unanimously selected and approved this hire during its regularly scheduled meeting Oct. 8. 

Slater will be replacing Don Sims, who has been the general manager of the Authority since 1974. During his tenure, Sims led the Authority through the initial construction and expansion of its water treatment plant and water distribution system and has overseen its growth from its initial 15 customers to in excess of 10,000 direct customers, with an additional 18,000 customers serviced through six wholesale connections. Sims also worked in conjunction with the Morgan and Lawrence county commissions to begin offering sanitary sewer service in the early 2000s to portions of the service area. 

Slater was initially hired by Sims in 2003 as meter reader. She has progressed through the ranks in positions of increasing responsibility since that time.  

She is experienced in all areas of the Authority’s operations, including maintenance supervisor, water treatment plant operator, assistant treatment plant manager and treatment plant manager. She has most recently been serving in the role of assistant general manager. 

“The Board went through an extensive search process and is proud to have selected Ms. Slater to lead the Authority in the next chapter of our history,” said board chairman Barry Stephens. 

A lifelong Morgan County resident, Slater graduated from Hartselle High School as one of the most accomplished basketball players in Morgan County history and was the first player to receive the Alabama Sportswriters Association’s Miss Basketball Award.   

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Alabama, Slater went on to coach college basketball and softball at Wallace State. She made a major career change when she joined the Water Authority in 2003 and carried over her successes as a coach to leading and mentoring others in the Water Authority.   

She has become increasingly involved in the well-being of the water industry at the local, regional and state levels over the past 17 years.    

“Being selected as the second general manager in the 52-year history of the West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority is a great honor, and I am grateful to the members of the board for the confidence they have shown in me,” Slater said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to lead a team of highly skilled and dedicated staff members as we strive to provide the highest level of service possible to Morgan and Lawrence counties.” 

The West Morgan-East Lawrence Water and Sewer Authority is the primary purveyor of potable water and sanitary sewer services in the unincorporated areas of western Morgan and eastern Lawrence counties, as well as the towns of Courtland and Hillsboro. It was originally created in 1968 as the West Morgan Water and Fire Protection Authority.