City’s utilities get new director

MU graduate replaces a 24-year veteran.
Thursday, January 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:24 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dan Dasho will be able to hit the ground running when he takes over as director of the city Water and Light Department next month.

Dasho, whose appointment was announced Wednesday by City Manager Ray Beck, said he’s excited about his new job in Columbia, in part because voters just last November approved a $28.3 million bond issue that will expand and upgrade the city’s water system.

“It’s a great project and one of the first things I’ll do,” Dasho said of plans for using the bond proceeds. “I’m sure the staff has got that project started, and we’ll be working on that in 2004.”

Dasho will earn $96,500 a year, with a 2.5 percent deferred compensation and an automobile allowance of $350 a month. His predecessor, Dick Malon, earned $100,947 a year.

As water and light director, Dasho will also oversee the city’s electric and fiber-optic operations, as well as the COLT short-line railroad and the Columbia Channel, channel 13 on Mediacom cable. The COLT rail line has seen a recent boost with construction of a terminal that will provide indoor storage for freight transported by COLT trains.

“They just opened a new storage facility, and they’re marketing it to regional businesses,” Dasho said. “It’s a really interesting and unique facility.”

Dasho expects an easy transition from his position as general manager of municipal utilities in Shawano, Wis.

“The city is well-run, and the facilities are well-run,” Dasho said of Columbia.

Dasho will start his new job Feb. 23, but his wife, Maura, and their daughter, Isa, will wait until May to make the move so Isa can finish her sophomore year of high school.

Dasho visited Columbia and met with Malon to look over the facilities here.

“(Malon) has a great staff, and I know I have big shoes to fill,” Dasho said.

Dasho said he was attracted to Columbia because he knew the area from his time as a student at MU. He graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He also attended high school in Kirkwood.

A seven-member screening committee seriously considered 14 of 29 applicants; it interviewed three.

“We went through a fairly extensive process,” Beck said. “We chose Dasho because he has a good education and experience and knowledge in water utility and fiber-optic operations.”

Malon had been water and light director since 1979. He announced in October that his retirement would be effective this month, but he remains on the job in an interim capacity.

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