Brady Wilkins, who held the title of Peconic Baykeeper since October, resigned from his position last week, the Quogue-based not-for-profit confirmed on Monday.
According to Brendan McCurdy, chairman of the Peconic Baykeeper Board of Directors, Mr. Wilkins resigned “on good terms” in order to go back to school. He has a master’s degree in education.
“He said, ‘I thought I’d move away from being the Baykeeper,’” Mr. McCurdy said on Monday. “It’s very amiable. We wish him well. He did good work for the organization.”
When reached by phone at his home on Monday, Mr. Wilkins declined to comment and asked not to be called again.
Mr. Wilkins came on board as Baykeeper in October after a six-month search to replace his predecessor, Kevin McAllister, who was terminated in March following allegations that he was abusing alcohol on the job and having a romantic relationship with a co-worker. Mr. McAllister denied the charges at the time.
On Monday, Mr. McAllister said that while he had not known that Mr. Wilkins resigned, he did not find the news alarming. “I’m not that surprised, based on the leadership there,” Mr. McAllister said. “I knew Brady. He was a good guy.”
Before starting his position, Mr. Wilkins had said that one of his goals as Baykeeper was to shift the organization’s focus to education. He had said that he and Mr. McCurdy were working to develop new outreach programs for local groups and students across Long Island, using Mr. Wilkins’s experience as a former educator in the Tuckahoe School District, where he taught science and consumer science classes, and developed an outdoor curriculum for students in grades three through eight.
Mr. Wilkins currently lives in Patchogue with his wife, Michelle, and two daughters, Stella, 14, and Rowan, 9.
Mr. McCurdy said on Monday that the organization will now search for a new Baykeeper, a full-time position that the chairman said requires an individual to be well-versed in science, but also be a strong advocate and capable of going before regulatory boards to encourage change. He added that he has since spoken with Mr. Brady, who gave him some “good ideas” for the organization moving forward, and that his resignation has given Peconic Baykeeper a chance to find someone else who will be passionate about serving as Baykeeper.
“We certainly have a lot of resumes from the last go-around,” Mr. McCurdy said. “Sometimes change can be good. It was unexpected and we need to grapple with it. But it does give us another opportunity.”