Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Krizl seeks reelection to Georgetown Divide PUD board

From page A1 | October 03, 2012 | 9 Comments

Running for a third full term of office on the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District is Norm Krizl, 51.

A farmer and former forester with the Eldorado National Forest, Krizl said he is running again because he wants the district to continue providing high quality service and to see it through what he says are efforts to disrupt the agency.

“I’m worried how employees are being treated by certain board members,” he said. “We have lost five employees in the last two years. Most, if not all, stated that hostility as the reason for leaving. I think there’s a movement to dismantle the district, which is causing us to lose employees.”

Krizl noted that when employees leave who have been with the district a long time, deep institutional knowledge goes with them and the level of service can be reduced.

Conflicts on the board

Noting that conflicts on the board are undermining district efforts, Krizl attributed most of the problems to two board members — Kathy Otermat and Bonnie McLane.

Otermat is trying to get rid of General Manager Hank White, Krizl said. “But Hank’s done a fantastic job. He has been with us for 10 years. I think personal issue seem to be at play to undercut staff at the district. And it’s been successful to some degree because some staff have left and that’s very disappointing to me. And that goes back to dismantling.

“Can the district do a better job?  There’s room for improvement in any organization. But I believe that the way people have gone about trying to change things has not been very respectful, been very divisive, and not productive. I don’t see it benefiting the community to chase people away from the water district who have worked here a long time, who are part of the community, and have been here quite a bit longer than Kathy Otermat.”

Krizl said that Bonnie McLane also had some previous issues with GDPUD. “She has been trying to get herself on the board or certain people on the board for a while. So when elected it was an opportunity for her to move forward on certain topics. Otermat came out of the blue. I never met her before she ran. That’s what seems a little odd to me that someone who has not been active in the community and nobody knows is all of sudden the expert on how horrible the GDPUD is.”


In discussing what he has accomplished as a board member, Krizl said that leaving the El Dorado Water and Power Authority was one accomplishment because it potentially saved the district tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure costs which would not have benefited the community.

Another is finding additional revenue for the district such as the $90,000 a year GDPUD will receive once SMUD has its license renewed, which should happen in the next year or two. They will receive the money for the life of the contract, which is 50 years, along with an annual cost of living increase. “We could rely on it annually for a long time to help if we need to finance some large project,” said Krizl.

The district is also being more aggressive about maintenance. “A lot of the infrastructure is over 100 years old because it’s from the old mining days. We are putting money into some big maintenance projects that will ensure a continuity of service.”

Krizl said the retrofit of the Auburn Lake Trails Plant (ALT) is a very important project, although it’s attracted a lot of consternation. He said the extensive work planned for it is necessary because the state regulators wouldn’t support a patchwork project.

“Regulatory change is one of the biggest challenges we face,” he said. “The state of California and EPA rules are changing constantly and they are getting more restrictive and more expensive. Hank reported that regulatory costs have gone up 20 percent annually. That’s a big deal. I don’t know that customers get better water quality for it and these costs are borne by our ratepayers. It’s not only more cost, but more work for our general manager and engineers. We don’t have the same volume of service (of larger water agencies) but have to comply with the same regulations.”

A last accomplishment Krizl noted is having a team of committed and technically qualified staff.

“A lot of these jobs are not ones where people come to work at 8, leave at 4:30 and that’s it. This is the kind of job where a pager can go off any time because the main ditch at Stumpy Meadow has blown out and there’s no water for the water treatment plant. That kind of stuff has to be dealt with. And you can’t do that with temp employees or brand new employees. You have to build a team who rely on each other and are willing to get up in the middle of the night, in pouring rain, to get up in the middle of a family dinner, and say I have to go to work.

“It is also a public health issue,” he said. “If we can’t provide clean, reliable, and affordable water, that’s a public health and safety issue. That elevates that commodity above everything else. It takes some skill and the right people to do those things.”

Looking forward

If re-elected Krizl said he wants the district to get back to things that matter to the district such as the future of the infrastructure and the future of the water supply.

“The state of California is going through a massive effort to redistribute water throughout the state and they’ve made no bones that they are looking at doing that by taking more water from the upper watershed,” he said.

“Sitting on the Mountain Counties Water Resource board, I hear a lot of things that ought to scare the whatever out of a lot of us. The state of California is making decisions without taking into account the small communities in the foothills. They just look at us like ‘you have the ability to raise rates so you can do it’. Then we become the bad guys because we have to tell our ratepayers that — guess what — we’re going have to pay more money to get the same thing. So that’s a huge challenge and I don’t see the regulatory picture getting any better. I see it getting worse.

“I’m also very concerned about the Delta Plan and Bay Delta Conservation Plan. We have our senior water rights but if we can’t show that we’re using them wisely, then they will take them away. All the water in the state belongs to the people of the state of California. We have rights to it granted by the state but those rights can change. So that’s a big deal. And that’s kind of the bigger long-range picture. I see the impact of that in coming months as they make decision on the Delta plan.”

Krizl said the district continues to be creative in its search for additional sources of revenue such as putting pipes with small turbines in them in ditches to generate electricity. However, an obstacle to the plan is the state requiring them to prove that fish won’t be harmed.

“I’d also like to bring more sanity to meetings, he said. Citing the experience of a water district in Forest Hill, he said they went through tremendous turmoil over rising water rates which they blamed on staff. In the end it cost the district a tremendous amount of money, loss of service, and eventually higher rates. “I’m very concerned that we’re headed down that road and I’d hate to see that for Georgetown,” Krizl said.

Krizl believes he should be reelected because of his previous experience on the board and his background in resource management. Citing what he says is his passion for the district’s core mission, he noted that, “We have great people who do great work. We should support them. Right now people can go to sleep at night and know the service is reliable and largely without interruption. I’d like for people to think they don’t have to worry about GDPUD. They’re doing a good job. And that’s the way it should be.”

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


Discussion | 9 comments

  • Wake up GDPUD rate payers!October 02, 2012 - 3:22 pm

    Norm is full of it. Don't believe the words of a man who feels that he does not need any information to be on the Board and does not read his Board packets until the day of the meeting. The last 5 employees did not leave because of the Board, but for different reasons. One left because of medical issues and stated it was because of a board member, this employee has personal issues with one director not related to the District. One left because she wanted more time with her husband but stated it was a board member and the other 3 just flat out retired. None of the Board members are out to get any of the employees. If Norm read his board packets he would have know that GDPUD is not financial doing well. If Norm had read the last packet he would have known that the GM was not truthful to the Board or the Public. If Norm had paid attention he would know that he is over charging the rate payers. If Norm was an honest man he would have paid the District back for all the lunches and that $420 meal that the District paid for him and his wife to have dinner at a very fine dining place. A vote for Norm is a vote to keep GDPUD in the wrong direction. Reading the article Norm is full of hate for the two board members mentioned. This needs to stop and he is not the answer.

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  • gdpud voters deserve better than krizlOctober 02, 2012 - 4:06 pm

    Norm Krizl is griping about hostility? What a hypocrite! Listen to Norm Krizl’s vicious true colors shown at the August special Board meeting when he politically and viciously attacked ratepayer advocate and director Kathy Otermat for something she absolutely did not do. Next, listen to Norm Krizl’s recent KFOK radio interview and hear him falsely claim that GDPUD hasn’t run deficits at year end. Then go look at the truth found in GDPUD’s official budget and find that GDPUD regularly runs $100,000 annual deficits and projects to again and again do so for each the next three years. Next, note that General Manager Hank White’s $250,000 compensation package, by itself, accounts for 10% of GDPUD’s $2.5 million annual rates. White’s compensation has more than doubled in the past eight years thanks to huge salary and benefit increases voted by good buddy Norm Krizl. (White’s $250,000 annual compensation is 20% higher than EID’s General Manager even though GDPUD has 90% fewer water customers than EID.) Also note that Krizl further objects that Hank White be subjected to documented annual performance reviews and be graded on such fundamental GM performance criteria as spending control without deficits and telling the truth to the Board and the ratepayers. On November 5th, give a vote FOR GDPUD ratepayers, FOR Kathy Otermat’s financial scrutiny movement, and AGAINST Norm Krizl’s special interest, "look the other way" agenda. VOTE FOR CIVILITY, VOTE YOUR WALLET… VOTE PAT SNELLING for GDPUD Division 5!

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  • yukOctober 03, 2012 - 4:03 am

    Krizl couldn't have paid for a better front page smear piece.

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  • Jack PodsedlyOctober 03, 2012 - 7:11 am

    Otermat is trying to get rid of General Manager Hank White, Krizl said. “But Hank’s done a fantastic job. He has been with us for 10 years. This pretty much says it all. The manager has been running the board for 10 years. I am ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHED that he still supports the manager that lied through the whole process about our 2 treatment plant updates. He blames Bonnie McClain and Kathy Otermat for all of the districts troubles. Right after Bonnie and Kathy got elected, the board quit meeting for lunch after the board meetings, paid by the district!!! Maybe if Bonnie and Kathy came to the meals and drank the Koolade with Norm, they would feel better about corruption also. I do not know why Norm is selling out the community. I kept thinking that he would see all of the problems and change his vote. I thought that Norm cared about the community. He needs to resign.

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  • B. Keegan, Pilot HillOctober 04, 2012 - 12:15 am

    I have listened to every GDPUD meeting audio at least twice since Otermat and McLane were elected.I firmly believe GDPUD ratepayers need a fresh pair of eyes, and continue to vote out the members of the good old boys club like they did when they voted out the similiarly arrogant Bob Diekon and Mike Cooper in 2010. Krizl only cares about Krizl and by protecting the GM, he is protecting what has happened under his watch. He does not verify information and assumes no one will validate what information he provides. Krizl continiuously calls Dir. Otermat "hostile". Please voters listen to the meeting audio files on! Norm is the the hostile jerk, the way he talks to Otermat. He called her "petty" for wanting documented GM evaluations. Really - them GMs salary started at $80K and is now $250K including benefits without ANY written evaluations. Is that a good way to watch out for your constituents fiscal interests Norm? Absolutely NOT! He can lose his temper in meetings like a macho jerk, for example in the August 21 special meeting with the conjured up charges by employees in Hanky Panky's pocket, Dolores Barron and Stephanie Beck, Krizl tells Otermat "I don't care about your job!" Well to my fellow citizens that are ore on fixed incomes, Norm doesn't even HAVE A JOB and has voted for every rate Hank since he was sworn in. A hobbiest wine grower does not a job make, NORM! Yes, GDPUD is has been in a deficit but Norm incorrectly states there's never been a deficit since who knows when. This is absolutely incorrect voters, go to Pat Snellings and Maria Capraun's for more facts about GDPUD's current financial and historical status. Yes, the lunches stopped after two directors were voted in to watch and question GDPUD financials. Norm partipated in lunches with quorums for YEARS!! He says the Brown Act does not prohibit unless business is discussed. Well some receipts say "board meeting" and "board meeting wrapup". That's pretty much a smoking gun for the attitudes of the past status quo good old boy directors which also included participation by Bonnie Neeley. I am so disgusted that Bonnie Neeley ran on lowering excessive salaries and benefits and make a 180% change in what she promised in her campaign once elected. Time to vote these two directors who have no clue on what the public wants in their directors. It is absolutely a director's job to ask for information, verify information and make informed decisions. Yes voters, listen to board audio files to hear Norm Krizl say, "I trust the GM, I don't need to see any information on the new treatment plant!". Fire these bums!

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  • Kathy OtermatOctober 04, 2012 - 1:03 am

    Once again Norm make statements that are untruthful..."Otermat came out of the blue. I never met her before she ran. That’s what seems a little odd to me that someone who has not been active in the community and nobody knows is all of sudden the expert on how horrible the GDPUD is.” I never met Norm (or GM Hank White for that matter) before I ran. Before I was elected, I was on the Board of the Divide Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Georgetown Merchants Association, a member of the Georgetown Sesquicentennial (150th) Founder's Day committee, I purchased and ran the Divide Harvester in 1995 to become more involved with the community providing the first color newspaper on the Divide, I was a member of the Georgetown Activities Committee that started the Dinner/Auction fundraiser that later became the Rotary Dinner/Auction. Since being elected, I've become a KFOK volunteer broadcaster and am on the Pride of the Mountains Car Show Committee. Not only have I been active on the Divide I continue to volunteer for organizations I became involved with long before I moved to Georgetown in 1992 including St. Hope Academy in Sacramento, Tracy St. Bernard's Parochial School and Tracy Chamber of Commerce. I can only try to follow the examples my parents gave me by their active volunteerism in their community... but I guess Norm didn't know me, I wasn't active? There are so many comments in his interview I can comment on but the only comment I'll address was his "Otermat has not been active in the community". I'll continue to keep Board business in the Board Room. As B. Keegan recommended, I too recommend that voters listen to board meeting audio files at Thank you to the community for all the support you have given me.

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  • Tammy from Garden ValleyOctober 04, 2012 - 12:31 pm

    How dare Norm makes the statement re: Director Otermat re: "nobody every heard of and nobody knows". It's just another display of his arrogant attitude. I remember Kathy well for years including her presence at community events when she had her newspaper. I knew the name Krizl mostly because he lost his bid to be a supervisor, but now that I do know more about Norm, the more I know the less I like. "Hank's done a fantastic job" says Norm. Fantastic in getting his salary doubled. Fantastic in being totally unprofessional in how he pouts like a baby if a Director asks for information or answers. Fantastic in rallying unthinking gullible people like Krizl and Neeley to protect him, Fantastic in wasting our money on abandoned treatment plants, lying to the public (listen to the Sept. audio where he admits there was no denial from the state for a retrofit, it was "his" (Hanks) belief they would deny it", lying to employees (yes all this Kathy is hostile message is not at meetings but from Hanks mouth to employees - my friend who works there tells me the crap Hank tells employees and even secretly recorded Hank and I heard it with my own ears!). Luckily Hank and Norm are being exposed by the two new directors for what they are and Hank and Norm are being mean, vicious and hostile in return while the ladies are cool, calm and gaining support from people like me who didn't know what the issues were at GDPUD but am taking the time to learn. I hope anyone who can vote on the GDPUD director ballots do the same. I think it's time to continue what we started in 2010 - No More Incumbents!

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  • Dink LaneOctober 04, 2012 - 1:18 pm

    Where are Norms supporters? The only supporters I see are the Editor and this reporter Dawn. wow, what is that saying?

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  • Robert from ALT, Cool, CAOctober 05, 2012 - 9:31 pm

    I did a search for Norm and just this from the article on the august 21 GDPUD special meeting: A board member, Norm Krizl, yelled at Kathy Otermat, “We don’t care about your job!”. Which brings me to a subject I've been trying to find the answer to: Does Norm Krizl even work? He's listed as owner/manager of Krizl Vineyard but is this a hobby or a business? Does anyone know the answer to this? I understand he married into a wealthy family so he can just slack off. Any information from Norm or any reliable source would be appreciated. If this is true then the voters need to know this. This may account for his blase attitude re: rate increases. If it doesn't hurt his pocketbook how can relate with working folks like me who doesn't have the same benefits as GDPUD employees. I have no health care. This economy has greatly affected me and my family so I will vote for a new director who will represent the public. Norm had his chance and has voted for every rate increase and has never asked GDPUD employees to take a hit as every other gvt. agency employee has.

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