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The director of the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission is stepping away from those duties on Jan. 14 to become the water and sewer utility’s lawyer and public and governmental affairs officer because the top job is too time consuming, she said this week.

“My level of commitment to the commission is not going to change,” said Jacquelyn Meiser, director of MetCom since 2009. But the director’s duties were taking away time she could be spending with her 7-year-old child, she said.

“I like the job; I love the organization,” she said. “From a personal aspect, it’s not the best fit.”

“She’s real family oriented,” said Joe St. Clair, chairman of the MetCom board. “I don’t blame her. The director’s job is 24/7, nonstop, everything under the sun.”

MetCom has about 84 employees and some outside contractors, 27 water systems and 53 sewer pumping stations.

“I look forward to continue working here,” Meiser said.

Dan Ichniowski, MetCom’s deputy director, will serve as the acting director while the MetCom board seeks to fill the position on a permanent basis. Resumes are being accepted until Jan. 9.

“I think MetCom is in a great place right now. As an organization, we’ve come a long way in the last four years since I’ve been director,” she said. “There’s nothing controversial, nothing problematic.”

After Meiser became director on March 9, 2009, state lawmakers appointed a task force to look at the governance structure of MetCom since Meiser was acting as both director and attorney. Legislation was introduced to split those duties into two. An outside law firm was brought in to serve as MetCom’s legal counsel.

Now Meiser will return as MetCom’s attorney.

She first started at MetCom as a grant administrator in November 1990.

MetCom has several construction projects in the works. The Marlay-Taylor Wastewater Reclamation Facility in Lexington Park is about to be upgraded to enhance nutrient removal to comply with state law. Bids go out next week on the $34 million project and work should start in the early summer, Meiser said.

Bids are already in to upgrade all of MetCom’s water meters so they can be read remotely. The $9.9 million project will update nearly 13,000 water meters. That work should start in March or April.

jbabcock@somdnews.com