Monday, April 14, 2014

GDPUD board changes staff chart, again delays waterplant bid

From page A1 | April 03, 2013 | 8 Comments

GDPUD Ray Griffiths

Ray Griffiths: "Our grant and loan will vaporize as well if we keep screwing around like this."

Apparently one board meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD) was not enough. Nor was two or even three. Instead the board met four times in March with it yet again delaying action on the most important issue.

Still unable to make a decision about the upgrade to the Auburn Lake Trails (ALT) water treatment plant, the board invited an engineer from Psomas to make a presentation on Value Engineering (VE) which is designed to reduce the cost or improve the function of a project.

Psomas is the firm that designed the plans for the proposed new plant, but has now held out the promise that a two-day VE workshop costing $30,000 to $40,000 might generate money-saving ideas.

Ernest Leporini, a senior project manager with Psomas, said a VE session could possibly generate cost savings of $1 million and improve the project design. However, any redesign of the plant would be an additional cost — upwards of 10 percent of construction savings — and could take several months for them to complete.

With Board President Bonnie McLane continually repeating the refrain that the district didn’t have the money to build the plant at its projected cost, board member Maria Capraun added, “We could do this process and still not have the money to build the plant.”

General Counsel John Knowlton asked how long it might take to go through the VE process and complete any suggested redesigns. Leporini suggested it might not be completed until September. However, September is also the deadline for the district to qualify for USDA and EPA funding. The district has a separate June deadline to qualify for a state grant of $685,550.

Board member Ray Griffiths spoke against a delay saying, “This is a bad idea … We need to go out to bid. If we nickel and dime this, we are going to regret it because it’s not going to get any better. Our grant and loan will vaporize as well if we keep screwing around like this.”

Interim General Manager Kelly Shively agreed, saying the project should be put out to bid. He also said he didn’t like that Psomas had designed the plant and was now talking about the VE process. He said the current plans were designed to save as much money as possible.

On a related matter, Shively reported he had checked with the USDA regarding interest rates and was told it’s currently at 3.5 percent, but the rate is not locked in until the district actually takes out the loan. Shively said at that rate, the district could borrow $5.4 million rather than the original $5 million and still be within the $7 surcharge approved during the Proposition 218 process.

Board member Kathy Otermat suggested contacting the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the USDA to ask for time extensions. But Shively said CDPH “is fed up with us,” saying the district had been working on plans to bring it into compliance since 2004. The CDPH has been calling and emailing the district regarding what is going on, he added. “They’re about done. Our grace period is just about done,” saying that he expects them to contact the district soon if nothing is done.

Still unwilling to make a decision, the board directed Knowlton and Capraun to contact CDPH and the USDA and ask for a time extension. Leporini also promised to follow up and send a formal proposal to the district for a VE session.

Changing organizational chart

The board also discussed lifting the hiring freeze and reorganizing the district while General Manager Hank White is on leave.

Capraun began by presenting the board with a salary schedule and recommendation for hiring a full-time board clerk at a salary of $40,622 a year. The clerk would report directly to the board president.

When questioned, Capraun said that technically the position of board clerk would not be a new position but rather the conversion of an existing administrative aide position, saying the person would be available to help in the office as well. She also asked if an office in the building could be designated for the board clerk.

Board member Ray Griffiths objected, saying doing so would “create a monster” since no staff person would directly supervise the person. “This is wrong, but you’ve got three votes so go with it,” he said.

McLane disagreed saying, “We were voted on by the people, so we hire who works for the people.”

Board member Kathy Otermat suggested hiring an interim part-time person until the district has a budget for the next fiscal year.

Resident Mike Webb commented on the proposal by suggesting the person should report to the general manager, not the president of the board since he has a greater need for staff help. He also questioned why a district the size of GDPUD needed a board clerk.

Shively concurred, saying the office needed an additional operations manager as well as more administrative aides since they are currently relying on temporary help.

The board then moved on to discuss a new organizational chart that Capraun put together. The discussion opened with Webb asking Capraun, “So you took it upon yourself to reorganize the district. Did you have input from the general manager on the operational needs of the district?”

The answer turned out to be no as Shively admitted it was his first time seeing the chart. To give him more time to review it, the board agreed to table the item until the next meeting. Shively went on to repeat that the district was understaffed and a second operations manager was needed.

Capraun also rewrote the job description of the business and finance manager, turning the position into that of an office manager with a reduced rate of pay. When questioned, Capraun said the topic had been discussed during one of their workshops. However, White had previously submitted to the board a job description for a business and finance manager, not an office manager.

The board then voted to hire one full-time administrative person and an office manager and approved a resolution confirming the appointment of Kelly Shively as Interim General Manager.

They also approved giving a key to the office to any board member who needed access. Otermat, McLane and Capraun voted for, Griffiths voted no. Krizl was absent.

The next regular board meeting is April 9 at 5 p.m. at the district office.

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


Discussion | 8 comments

  • Maria CapraunApril 02, 2013 - 7:16 pm

    Dawn the presentation of any item at the board meeting is for the board to review and discuss. It does not need to be approved at the first time anyone sees the item. It is called a board meeting for the board to meet and discuss in the presents of the public. Items come back for further discussion and input. Any board member or person of the public can present an item to be address and should not be criticized for doing so. Closed mines to ideas and information do no one any good. I did not write the job description, it was discussed at other meetings and those ideas and thoughts were what created the job description. As for the organizational chart it is a prior one of the District based on actual employees with the addition of the board clerk at the request of one of the directors. As for the ALT project, this has being going on for more than 10 years with no progress. The Greenwood Lake Project failed because the District could not afford it, now the Auburn Lake Trails project is headed in the same direction. If you can tell me where the $2.4 million is coming from I am all ears. There are those who want to just go ahead and build the plant the problem is we would not be able to finish it and also have no money left. If some major happened where would the money come from? The question I have yet to have answered is if you only have $8.4 million to spend why did you plan a project that is estimated over $11 million?

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  • OverInformedApril 03, 2013 - 5:16 am

    The "inmates are running the asylum" meets "paralysis through analysis". It is easy to sit in the cheap seats and criticize, but it is a lot harder to make the necessary decisions. This is a preview of the next EID board if the naysayers have their way. And oh by the way, items have to be placed on the agenda for action in order for action to occur along with the public being notified of the agenda and the intended action.. Anything else is an open forum for discussion, but no action. Sounds like some board members crossed the line....

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  • Dink LaneApril 03, 2013 - 5:35 pm

    I thought this was a Republican paper? Conservative? Financially Responsible?.... What? The Mt. Democrat wants "Trust but DON"T verify?"...... That's what got us into Iraq.... Keep up the GOOD work New Board members..... If Psomas want those TAXPAYER $$$$ make them EARN them.... "Open Checkbook" JoAnn, Bob and Bonnie are gone now.... Prove what you say!

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  • SliderApril 04, 2013 - 10:39 am

    The only thing bigger than Capruans ego is her nose

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  • Captain ObviousApril 07, 2013 - 2:01 pm

    Wow, now that Henry White is no longer there to cover up this mess, it's apparent what we are looking at. A mismanaged, embarrasment to whom we have been lied by and wasted our money with. It's now apparent he was doing absolutely nothing and most concerning, seems to know very little about the laws that GDPUD was working under now that he's not paying off a laywer, on our dime, to do his job. Please, please take this opportunity to get us a General Manager who is qualified to do this job without paying an additional $200k a year for a lawyer to do it for him. No wonder the lawyer quit....he was doing Henry White's job.

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  • Sister GratefulApril 07, 2013 - 9:26 pm

    Like Captain Obvious I am sooooo happy that all the BS that we ratepayers have dealt with such as an overpaid incompetent GM, ousting incumbent Bonnie Neeley last November with another fiscal conservative and exposing the years of absolutely horrendous spending, running deficits and Director's excessive benefits, monthly illegal lunch meetings are being dealt with by the New Majority. Funny. The only thing that doesn't change is Dawn Hudsons incredibly pro-White, pro-Krizl bias. Listen to the meeting recordings or attend meetings if you want to be informed. Dawn Hudson - what is up with that? Richard Esposito - why do you let Raffety's lack of integrity allow you to keep this type of garbage journalism in your paper? And Mr/Ms Slider, your lack of intelligence is transparent. A match of wits between you and Ms. Capraun would be unfair and you would be sadly unarmed. Typical of the good old boy network. No respect for people like you.

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  • Jerry SilvaApril 08, 2013 - 8:31 pm

    I read that lazy dough boy Director Krizl was absent. I heard he didn't even have the courtesy to inform the board or staff of his decision to not attend. Boy if one of the ladies would have done that, it would be in the article. Dawn is a whipping girl for the likes of Krizl. Too bad she can't appreciate she is being used by Krizl and White. What is it with their power over old women like Neeley, Shepherd and Hodson? Geea!

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  • In other news....April 20, 2013 - 12:48 pm

    ....I didn't realize Dawn Hudson was such a fox. Carry on silver lighting. Can I buy you a drink?

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