Executive Director

OK, United States 🇺🇸

Responsibilities and Duties
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) establishes water resource management policy and conducts the State’s water business within the statutory framework provided by the State Legislature. 

The Executive Director is hired and supervised by a nine-member governing Board appointed by the Governor and coordinates closely with the Cabinet Secretary of Energy & Environment, Oklahoma Legislature, Office of the Governor, and State Congressional Delegation to promote effective water management to ensure that all Oklahomans have adequate quantities of good water.  Such efforts routinely involve and require collaborating with federal, state and local authorities relating to all programs of the OWRB.

As the Appointing Authority and chief executive of the OWRB, this position is responsible for the day-to-day management and oversight of the Agency’s Executive Administration, Water Quality Division, Planning & Management Division, and Financial Assistance Division, with an annual operating budget of approximately $18 million, an average capital budget of over $500 million, and a staff of 90-100 employees.  Specific duties include:

● Building alliances with federal, state and local organizations to promote sound water planning and policy development, including the Oklahoma Legislature and U.S. Congress.

● Appointing, employing and supervising such assistants, department heads, division chiefs, and other employees as the Board deems necessary, subject to restrictions by the Legislature and Governor. The Executive Director shall fix and determine the salaries and wages to be paid under and subject to the rules and procedures of the State.

● Directing the establishment of Agency policy, rules, and operating procedures that are approved by the governing Board; oversees agency budget and secures funding for Agency programs.

● Responsible for the administration of Oklahoma’s groundwater and stream water law for the balanced appropriation of water resources, completion of hydrologic studies of groundwater basins, administration of licensing requirements and standards for water well drillers, as well as oversight of floodplain management and dam safety programs.

● Providing supervision of the OWRB’s multi-billion-dollar Financial Assistance program designed to assist Oklahoma communities and rural water districts through the administration of the State Bond Loan Program, Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan programs, Emergency Grant and Rural Economic Action Plan Grant programs.

● Overseeing development of Oklahoma’s Water Quality Standards and implementation of the Beneficial Use Monitoring Program and Groundwater Monitoring & Assessment Program to identify impairment and detect water quality trends; works closely with sister agencies to protect and enhance Oklahoma’s environment and natural resources.

● Guiding and directing the implementation of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan 2012 update, which is the result of an unprecedented $12 million, 6-year process for establishing a sound and progressive water future for Oklahomans for at least the next 50 years through a blending of robust public input and reliable technical information.

Additional Responsibilities and Duties
The Executive Director serves as ex-officio Oklahoma Commissioner on three interstate stream water compacts: Red River Compact Commission, Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact Commission, and the Arkansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact Commission; and serves as Agency consultant to the Canadian River Commission. 

The Executive Director is appointed to represent Oklahoma in several national organizations, such as the Western States Water Council and Interstate Council on Water Policy, in order to coordinate interstate water resources planning activities and influence formulation of national water policy consistent with Oklahoma’s long-range goals.  

The Executive Director also serves on the Oklahoma Drought Management Team, providing the Governor with the guidance, relief, and assistance necessary to aid local communities and citizens in mitigating, preparing for, responding to and recovering from the effects of drought.  

Required Competencies:
• Proven experience in public administration/management, policy analysis, development and implementation, organizational/personnel management, strategic planning, negotiation, and alliance building in the natural resources field.

• Knowledge and understanding of a wide range of highly technical issues, including:
o engineering principles of groundwater and surface water hydrology,
o environmental principles and practices to understand Oklahoma’s water quality standards and other water quality technical studies, as well as
o principles of securities and finance as it relates to the OWRB’s revenue bond and state revolving fund loan programs.

• Knowledge of and experience with legislative procedures and practices, as well as proven experience in policy analysis, development and implementation.

• Experience in drafting agency budget requests and operating within set budgets.

• Excellent oral and written communication skills, including public speaking skills, and interpersonal skills.

• Experience in conflict management and consensus building

• Demonstrated ability to negotiate and build positive alliances and relationships with local, state, and federal governmental agencies and myriad public/private entities.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
•  Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others
• Working knowledge of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board rules, policies, procedures and regulations
• Good judgment and the ability to effectively communicate, negotiate, plan strategy and implement directives and programs to support the Agency’s mission and goals
• Ability to make decisions on a wide variety of complex and changing problems
• Ability to operate common IT equipment
• Ability to establish and maintain trust and credibility with others
• Ability to work in a complex political environment
• Ability to work regular/standard work hours of 8:00 – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, with extended work hours, including weekends and travel with overnight stays as required

Physical Demands
Requires extended computer use, intermittent sitting, standing, walking and working with light to medium weight materials; ability to drive a vehicle for long periods of time

Minimum Qualifications
Successful candidates must have a bachelor degree from an accredited university, with preference given for degrees in natural resources or public administration.   Alternatively, other bachelor degrees and more than ten (10) years of upper-level management experience with a water or environmental agency may be considered.

A candidate  shall have a minimum six (6) years of practical and administrative experience in water resources management and mid-to upper-level management experience in a large organization, with preference given for professional level practical and administrative experience in water resources management, environment or natural resource protection.

Salary and Benefits
Salary is established by the governing Board pursuant to any limits that may be specified by the Oklahoma Legislature. Salary is commensurate with education and experience.

The Pay Range midpoint is $120,000.00/year. In addition to salary, the State of Oklahoma offers an extensive benefits package comprised of  vacation and sick leave, health, dental, life, disability and retirement.  Professional liability of state employees is addressed by The Governmental Tort Claims Act.