A special meeting on Tuesday night of the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District went for almost three hours with no action taken regarding the district’s looming staff problems.
The meeting was called by General Manager Hank White to discuss what actions were available to the agency in the face of the loss of almost all of their administrative staff coupled with a hiring freeze. Two administrative staff are retiring at the end of this year and a third, Dolores Barron, notified White that she will be retiring in 2013.
“Once Barron retires next year, that will complete the exodus of employees in the office,” said White. “All that will be left will be myself, one administrative assistant, and the Assistant Operations Manager. I don’t know how we’re going to service 5,000 to 6,000 accounts with just one (office) person,” he said.
White presented the board with different options for handling the personnel issues, including hiring a human resource firm to manage previous activities handled by the business-finance manager who is retiring in December; working with employment agencies to bring in administrative staff on a temporary basis; and recruiting two administrative aides.
White also presented the board with different options if nothing is done to replace the departing staff including closing the office two days a week and cutting back on customer service.
Rather than make a decision, the board, on a 4-1 vote, will take up the issue at the regular meeting Nov. 13. Board member Norm Krizl cast the lone no vote.
White noted in a phone interview after the meeting that he was concerned that the loss of staff could affect the ability of the agency to respond to emergencies as well as ordinary requests for service. Barron, for example, not only handles payroll but also researches real estate issues and handles existing accounts. When asked why staff were leaving, the general manager said retiring employees told him it was due to the hostile work environment created by some board members.
White also gave an updated presentation on the goals and objectives achieved for the year. Among those achievements are progress on the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant retrofit, including completion of an expanded Proposition 218 process; securing a $1.2 million grant from the USDA; securing a $685,000 grant through Proposition 50 funds; providing 90 percent plan comments on the plant; and starting the bidder pre-qualification process. Five-year budget projections were completed and information technology improvements were made, including updates to the agency’s Website. Water conservation efforts were implemented at different locations. Employees were trained to use the new GIS/GPS mapping program. In addition, 482 million gallons of water were treated and delivered to customers on the Divide.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or email@example.com. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.