Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Accounting services approved by GDPUD board

From page A1 | October 12, 2012 | 8 Comments

With Business and Finance Manager Mary Pat Frick retiring in December, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board approved a contract for accounting services at its Tuesday meeting.

Approved on a 4-1 vote with Director Kathy Otermat voting no, the board agreed to hire Vaughn Johnson, CPA, with the stipulation that the contract can be terminated with 30 days notice. Johnson has a business in Cameron Park.

General Manager Hank White explained that before recommending Johnson, he and Frick contacted six different firms and interviewed three, before recommending her firm for the job.

The need to find a replacement for Frick drew statements of gratitude for her services from the board and members of the public as well as considerable discussion on how best to replace her.

Some board members thought it might be better to recruit for a new business and finance manager rather than contract out the accounting services or to use a combination of staff and a consultant.

However Otermat and others did not want to hire a new person into the position until the PERS contribution for new employees was settled.

After voting to approve the contract, the board agreed to continue discussion of the topic at next month’s meeting.

In other actions, White gave an update on the Auburn Lake Trails Water treatment plant retrofit. He reported that 90 percent of the plans for the new plant are completed and the USDA has agreed to a new start date for construction of no later than September of next year.

White also requested the board approve receipt of a $685,550 grant from the California Department of Public Health and the Department of Water Resources. The funds will go toward a portion of the cost of the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) treatment plant retrofit and related water security activities. The board voted to accept the grant with Otermat voting no.

Related to that vote, was a request for the board to approve a resolution to proceed with the pre-qualification process for potential bidders on the ALT plant retrofit. Last month, potential bidders were notified they could pick up the pre-qualification packet. General Counsel William Wright said that a standard template put out by the Department of Industrial Relations will be used to rank potential bidders and disqualify those who don’t meet the minimum qualifications. Wright stressed that the process is not for choosing the contractor, but to pre-qualify who will be allowed to bid. Staff will be reviewing and ranking the responses and reporting the findings to the board.

Following a lengthy discussion of the topic, in which Wright had to repeatedly clarify the purpose of pre-qualifying bidders, he sighed and said, “We’ll be lucky to get any contractors to vote on this job. Really. We’ll scare them all away. It happens.” The board then voted to approve the resolution with Otermat voting no.

In other actions, Norm Krizl was appointed treasurer. He replaces Otermat, who was removed from the position in August.

White also reported that the district’s contract with local 39 Stationary Engineers expires at the end of December and negotiations will take place with the union over the next few months.

The board decided to continue posting agendas 72 hours before meetings, per the Brown Act, despite the fact that the State of California no longer reimburses agencies for doing so.

The board also passed on adopting a policy specific to the district governing public access to its records. Wright recommended staying with the existing public records act to avoid confusion.

In discussion items, board President Ray Griffiths noted that the rising cost of oil is affecting the cost of everything, including the cost of water service. He encouraged people not to blame others because the cost of living was going up. ”Economic hard times are here to stay and it’s not going to get better,” he said.

Krizl discussed what was happening at the state level regarding water rights. He said the state expects Mountain Counties to mitigate the impact on the delta as it ships water to southern California.

“Everything is on the table and we can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “Environmental groups are defining things and foothill communities are not at the table.”

Resident Steve Miller agreed with Krizl’s comments. “I don’t think that the general population is aware or understands the impact. I keep coming back to the Owens River Valley. If we ignore history, we repeat it and I’d sure hate to see it happen in the mountains.”

Krizl said that the Mountain Counties Water Resources Association is providing information to the public but remarked that there remains a lot of apathy on the subject. “Well over half of the water going into the delta comes from the mountains,” Krizl said. “The delta is being affected by all the water going south and they want to use mountain county water to mitigate the effects.”

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


Discussion | 8 comments

  • Penny B.October 11, 2012 - 12:19 pm

    1. CPA Vaughn Johnson provides accounting services to GDPUD's General Counsel William Wright. 2. Mary Pat Frick's resignation letter of 8/27/12 could have come before the Board at their September meeting, thereby giving Directors more significant input concerning replacement options.

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  • FED UPOctober 11, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    This is an example of the GM over stepping his authority. The GM never asked the Board for input on a contract that is going to cost thousands! This is just one of many issues the District faces and the Board is not involved in the duties they were elected to complete in the best interest of the rate payers. Vote out Neeley and Krizl!! Who is really watching the spending at the District, the answer is no one!!

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  • Dink LaneOctober 11, 2012 - 4:17 pm

    It's amazing..... I listened to the audio, and Dawn sure twisted the facts.... Wright's frustration was that he couldn't LIMIT the potential bidders. But that's OK have a tale to spin.....

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  • Pat SnellingOctober 11, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    The Delta Stewardship Council is NOT a new fight. It's just a new approach to an old problem. I asked Norm Krizl, my opponent, last year about McClintock's attempt at this same OLD problem and Krizl said; "We don't have to do anything, the Senate will stop it." Yes, Mr. Krizl, they did--no thanks to the GDPUD Board. GDPUD didn't go on RECORD objecting to this water grab then and not now. In fact over 105 commercial and recreation business, 4 Chamber of Commerces, 7 water agencies, 10 local government agencies have made official protests. But my opponent, the INCUMBENT Norm Krizl, just lets others fight to protect our water. That's how Krizl plans to fight, from the sidelines. That's what happened in Owens Valley, Mr. Krizl.

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  • Michael S. - Cool, CAOctober 12, 2012 - 10:34 pm

    Again it's not what you know it's who you know at GDPUD to get in on the gravy train. Vaughn submits a 1 page email vs. complete descriptions of staff, references, services by the other 2 prospective accounting firms. Oh but Vaughn also does the accounting for Bill Wright. You'd think an ethical attorney would have not even chosen to have their accounting person apply. But at GDPUD you're under the radar so it doesn't matter? Hmmm with all the bad press (not by the Mt. Democrat but check out maybe it's time GDPUD ratepayers pay attention and vote out the incumbents who reish the good old boys way of life and wish the damn smart persistent lady Directors McLane and Otermat would just go away. Director Neeley, she's actually a good old boy. Trust me - she's an old wolf in sheep's clothing.

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  • John PlymyerOctober 14, 2012 - 7:41 pm

    I've asked the board again and again how much Mr. Wright, the attorney at each board meeting, gets paid on an annual basis. But, nobody can tell me! It's wrapped into a total budget of attorney fees that ratepayers pay to defend the GM against ratepayer claims. That total is well over $600,000 per year. That is one rich lawyer we pay to do Sargeant Hank White to do!

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  • John PlymyerOctober 14, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    Sorry, that would be 'that we pay Sargeant Hank White to do!" IE, the lawyer is doing Hank White's job. If you have been to a Board meeting, you know what I'm talking about right? Ask a question that the GM, Hank White, should know and instead you have a lawyer answering it. We pay both of them.

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  • Maria CapraunOctober 15, 2012 - 9:29 am

    In response to Mr.Plymyer. There is a report that is created in the accounts payable that tallies each of the companies that conduct business with the District. The total payments to Mr. Wright are easily available if the District so decided to provide you with this public information. As for the cost per meeting it is usually 4 to 5 hours per month @ $200 = $800 to $1,000 just for the regular meetings or about $12,000 per year. Plus legal consulting and other issues add to the cost per year. Mr. Wright shows over $6,000 on some months so I would estimate that he make between $60,000 to $100,000 per year of which $48,000 to $88,000 is the amount you are looking for. This is just a ruff estimate but it is in the ball park. It is this kind of information that should be give out easily to a public inquiry. Thank you Mr.Plymyer for noticing.

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