Mosquito Control chief leaving for North Carolina job

Michael Doyle, who has led the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District since 2011, has resigned effective Sept. 1 to take a job in North Carolina, district officials said Thursday.

He’s going to be an entomologist with that state’s Department of Health and Human Services in the agency’s Communicable Disease Branch. The Mosquito Control Board is expected to name an interim director on Aug. 16.

“I will have the ability to engage with educators and researchers from N.C. State [University] who are on the forefront of Zika research,” Doyle said in a statement released by the district.

Doyle has been at the forefront of working with British insect-control firm Oxitec to test release in the Lower Keys subdivision of Key Haven genetically modified bugs whose offspring die. The thinking is that will reduce the Keys population of the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito.

That plan is under review by several federal agencies. No Zika cases have been reported in the Keys though more than 200 have been reported statewide this year. Zika symptoms include flu-like pain in the joints, bones and muscles.

Doyle’s annual job reviews by the commissioners were mixed and last year, the board lowered his annual pay to $132,412 from $135,740. He got no raise the previous year.

When his pay was reduced, Commissioner Phil Goodman told him, “I see things that are happening that I thought were isolated incidents months ago but now I see a pattern from you. It’s concerning.”

Criticism included losing a contract with Naval Air Station Key West to spray the base. That cost the district $600,000 annually.

Commissioner Jill Cranney-Gage responded to Goodman, “These after-the-fact things would be toward his raise [this year]. That’s my problem with what we’re doing.”

In 2011, Doyle replaced Ed Fussell, who retired. Doyle had been entomologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Sector-borne Diseases in Colorado.

Larry Kahn: 305-440-3218