Wastewater vet to head Virginia Beach public utilities

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Robert Montague, the new director of public utilities in Virginia Beach, has worked in the department for 21 years. (Photo courtesy City of Virginia Beach)
Robert Montague, the new director of public utilities in Virginia Beach, has worked in the department for 21 years. (Photo courtesy City of Virginia Beach)

Virginia Beach has a new director of public utilities, and he knows what he’s getting into.

He’s basically had the job since February.

City Manager Dave Hansen has appointed Robert Montague to direct the Department of Public Utilities, according to a release issued Monday. Montague has served as the interim director since February 2016, when Tom Leahy was promoted to deputy city manager.

“I have great confidence in Bob,” Hansen said in the release. “He is a highly capable and knowledgeable individual who has demonstrated the necessary skills and abilities to effectively lead Public Utilities going forward.”

The department oversees water quality and wastewater systems for residents and businesses.

Montague began his 21-year career at public utilities as an administrative analyst in 1995. He was promoted to water conservation coordinator a year later, business manager in 2001 and acting utility engineering manager in 2012. In January 2016, before serving as interim director, he became acting administrator of utility operations.

His appointment becomes effective Oct. 7.

Montague has a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary. He earned a master’s of public administration at Old Dominion University.

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Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.