Contracting authority considered at GDPUD

By From page A3 | September 13, 2013

Approval of a resolution describing the purchasing authority of the interim general manager was put off until another date at Tuesday’s board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District.

The resolution would have limited Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann’s contracting authority to $5,000 with no restrictions on what he could spend in emergency situations.

However the board ran into a sticking point when reminded that Hoffmann’s contract only allows him to make purchases up to $2,000. General Counsel Barbara Brenner suggested checking with other districts of similar size to see what limits they have in place for their general managers. After further discussion, the board decided to bring the resolution back to another meeting along with an addendum to Hoffmann’s contract that would increase his contracting and spending authority.

In other actions, the board voted to end the irrigation season on Sept. 30.

Hoffmann reported the auditors visited the district office last week to conduct the yearly audit. He also informed the board that he had reopened the recruitment process for a business manager and widened the geographical area where the position is advertised.

Discussions continued regarding the job description for the general manager with Director Ray Griffiths suggesting referencing what the California Public Utility Code describes as the duties of a general manager, especially as it relates to the job of clerk and ex officio secretary. Director Maria Capraun said being clerk of the board has always been part of the general manager’s job. However, since former General Manager Hank White left the job, there has been no consistency in who countersigns contracts. In addition, different board members have been preparing the board minutes with assistance from members of the community due to a shortage of staff.

Additional policies governing board meeting conduct and rules of order were circulated by Director Kathy Otermat and sent to Brenner for review. Saying she had consulted other standard meeting rules, Otermat said, “I would like some rules of order that are not so flexible.”

The board has already implemented certain meeting rules including the way in which the public should address members of the board and the grounds for terminating a speaker’s “privilege of address.” Those are being read at the beginning of every meeting by President Bonnie McLane.

A financial report for the end of July showed the district with reserves of $8.6 million in unrestricted, designated and restricted funds with $1.98 million in unrestricted undesignated funds; $3.2 million in designated funds; and $3.4 million in restricted funds.

The board also passed a resolution giving the interim general manager and directors the right to sign checks and withdraw funds from bank accounts held by GDPUD.

Director Norm Krizl reported the state was discussing possibly cutting back a water bond issue from $11 billion to $5.5 billion. “But nobody knows for sure,” he said. “It kind of begs the question, what is the argument for this amount of money if you’re willing to cut it in half? What was the argument for $11.8 if all of a sudden some politician comes up and says ‘let’s do $5.8 because it’s more likely to pass?’ Well how important was that $5 billion worth of spending if you’re just willing to throw it away? The argument for all of it just falls apart when nobody has a strong argument for any of it.”

Krizl also asked Hoffmann for an update on the district’s water rights at a future meeting.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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