Attendance was sparse at the first of a series of workshops to be held by the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District with only five to seven members of the public in the audience.
The subject of the Jan. 3 meeting was board policies and procedures. Since board President Ray Griffiths was absent until the end of the meeting, Vice President Bonnie McLane conducted the session.
She noted the workshop was for discussion only and no action would be taken. Instead whatever came out of the workshop would be taken back to the board and presented at its regular meeting.
To get the things started, board member Maria Capraun presented an eight-page document listing policies covering, among other things, the board’s basis of authority, their roles and responsibilities, and a listing of the board’s and the general manager’s responsibilities.
She noted the document could be merged with the district’s existing policies and procedures to make them more specific as well as ensure the policies were actually followed.
Board member Kathy Otermat also provided the table of contents of a sample policy handbook put out by the California Special Districts Association along with 23 pages of the handbook covering such topics as operating principles, expenditure reimbursement, board descriptions and ethics training.
The board then went through Capraun’s draft, reading and discussing different sections of the document in more detail.
Several suggested changes to the policies included requiring that agenda items be submitted 12 days before a board meeting to give staff enough time to prepare any accompanying reports; defining how communications between board members will be conducted to avoid violating the Brown Act; and including the proviso that all contracts come before the board before a final draft is signed.
Near the end of the workshop an audience member asked the purpose of what the board was doing. He said it was unclear if the new policies were to be used as guidelines or as a way for people to police themselves.
Capraun said the board needed more policies as guidelines on how to conduct their meetings and themselves. In her words, the district needed to replace the “dirt road” it had been on with a “paved road.”
Otermat added that the district had previously been run on history and tradition and having more specific policies would remove any ambiguity.
The board has committed itself to holding weekly workshops throughout January and February. The next one was to be held on Jan. 10 at the district’s headquarters.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.