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Governing Board

Maryam Ghyabi’s guiding principles

Maryam H. Ghyabi

Accountability is one of the tenets that guides Maryam Ghyabi as president and CEO of a civil engineering and transportation firm.

“Integrity is necessary for any organization to be successful,” Ghyabi says. “We must meet our commitments and promises, be honest and act in a professional and ethical manner. It’s really that simple.”

Ghyabi applies the same philosophy in helping the Board steer the direction of the agency. She has outlined four initiatives that she believes the district should continue to work to achieve in the years ahead:

  • Effectiveness and efficiency
  • Transparency
  • Mediation before litigation
  • Government-to-government streamlined processes

Ghyabi is pleased  with the dramatic change that the district has undergone during the past few years as the agency reduced expenditures and staffing, reorganized itself to eliminate and consolidate programs to help reduce expenses, and right-sized its focus on core missions and top priorities.

“We now have the right people in the right positions,” Ghyabi says. “With these increased efficiencies, we are appropriately allocating resources to achieve our core missions while not adding increased burdens to taxpayers.”

Transparency in government is critical to earning the public’s trust, and Ghyabi works with staff to identify opportunities for public engagement and involvement. The district’s heightened efforts to share information on critical issues of such diverse topics as strategic budgeting and springs protection allow the Board to offer guidance while simultaneously providing the public with a clearer understanding of the district’s often-complex role in water resource protection, she says.

When Ghyabi was first appointed to the Board in 2009, one of her top priorities was to reduce the district’s involvement in litigation. Staff’s work to improve communications with other government agencies, streamline the permitting process and offer improved customer service prior to application submittal is helping abate the potential for lawsuits that can be costly to both applicants and taxpayers.

“No one wins when governments sue one another,” she says. “We are focused on working with local governments and permittees to work out issues rather than heading directly to court.”

Ghyabi has encouraged the recent statewide trend toward improving communications, coordination and collaboration among government agencies — particularly the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the five water management districts. She has also urged district staff to continue building positive relationships with legislators and local government project partners.

“Bringing statewide consistency to consumptive use and environmental resource permitting programs across the state is a very positive step for the public,” she says. “I look forward to further progress in both of these areas.”

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St. Johns River Water Management District
4049 Reid Street, Palatka, FL 32177
(800) 725-5922