PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

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GDPUD board gets analysis from Goodenow

By From page A12 | July 12, 2013

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KELLY SHIVELY

One of the more analytical observers of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District offered a detailed critique of the Board of Directors Tuesday.

Dennis Goodenow said he has been observing the meetings for the last six months. “I found it very interesting.”

Since Jan. 3 there have been 26 meetings, which included 19 special meetings for a total of 340 agenda items.

Of that total, 212 “are related to administrative” matters, such as approving the agenda and minutes, and 128 or 20 a month are “related to district business,” including 43 closed sessions, 15 related to board activities such as policies, 12 agenda items about the current budget, seven on the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant upgrade, seven on hiring an office manager.

The number of agenda items dedicated to long-term financial planning was zero, according to Goodenow, nada on strategy and zip on revenue shortfall planning.

“Not one on reserve fund planning. There is a lot that needs to be done that is not being done. There are a lot of low priority items,” Goodenow told the board.

“There is $7.5 million reserve on account but no policy for spending it,” Goodenow told the Mountain Democrat.

“Items appear (on the agenda) but have no support information. You need to create a schedule so people can actually spend time (preparing support information for agenda items),” Goodenow told the board. “I really think you’re missing things. The district is about water.”

In written remarks submitted to the board but not read due to the three-minute limit, Goodenow wrote,”At the top of each of these 26 agendas you present the Mission Statement of the district. For reference it follows:

• Provide reliable water supplies,
• Ensure high quality drinking water,
• Promote stewardship to protect community resources, public health, and quality of life,
• Provide excellent and responsive customer services through dedicated and valued staff, and
• Insure fiscal responsibility and accountability are observed by balancing immediate and long-term needs.

“Of the bulk of the agenda Items I identified above that were discussed over the past six months, I ask you, which of these directly relate to this Mission Statement? I suggest very few.”

“Over the past six months, I have gotten to know each of you somewhat and I like each of you as individuals,” Goodenow wrote. “Also, I must commend you for your dedication and commitment to the district and applaud the time and effort each of you has made under extreme conditions. The total community should express their gratitude. However, as a board, I find the group seriously lacking thus far in meeting the fiscal and infrastructural planning needs of the district and I encourage each of you to reconsider the path and process you have pursued thus far. I see a need for a complete reevaluation of the strategy, tactics, and posturing some board directors have taken to date. You must start to work together for the sake of the community to effectively accomplish the district’s business.”

Finally, Goodenow wrote,” I think one way to start is by listening to each other, the staff, and the public and develop an Agenda Calendar for the next six months to move the process forward. Some of the agenda Items I think the group can agree on include: board consensus, district branding/public outreach, staff development, infrastructure objectives, fiscal planning, revenue options, reserve policy, reserve fund use strategy.”

Goodenow, a retired Air Resources Board manager and current management consultant with clients primarily in Canada, told the Mountain Democrat he spent 10 minutes on the agenda analysis and 45 minutes to write the 1,450-word report.       

Michael Raffety

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