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More staff losses at GDPUD

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From page A1 | November 19, 2012 | 14 Comments

Facing an ever-shrinking staff, the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moved forward on a number of employee related actions at its Nov. 13 meeting.

The latest person to submit his resignation was General Counsel William Wright.

In a letter dated Nov. 12, Wright announced that after 22 years with the district, he decided to resign. Thanking the board, he said he would continue to serve until a replacement firm is selected.

In the past year, Wright has been the target of attacks by board members Kathy Otermat and Bonnie McLane as well as incoming board member Maria Capraun. They have questioned the cost of his services and have alleged he represents General Manager Hank White’s interests rather than theirs.

Board member Norm Krizl said he was disappointed to see Wright resigning. “I wish you all the best,” Krizl said. “Few realize all the benefits you’ve brought to the district.”

In other employee related items, the board voted to hire consulting firm, HR2GO for a minimum of six months to handle the human resource functions currently being carried out by Business Finance Manager Mary Pat Frick, who is retiring in December. In addition, they approved hiring two full-time customer service clerks from a temp agency for no more than 1,000 hours each.

GDPUD has decided to put off hiring any permanent employees until an amendment to its CalPERS contract is in place.

The board also voted to accept the audit of the district for the past fiscal year. Derek Rampone, of the firm of Moss, Levy & Hartzheim, gave an overview of the audit results. The district ended the year with a decrease in net assets of $14,000 due to lower revenue. The audit noted that the district was able to keep this year’s decrease much lower than last year’s by significantly cutting expenses. Overall net assets of the district are $21.4 million. Long-term debt is only $1.5 million, which is low according to Rampone.

White and Kelly Shively, assistant operations manager, reported they had received pre-qualification packages from seven general contractors and after a review, all seven were deemed qualified to bid on the Auburn Lake Trails Treatment Plant retrofit. The seven contractors are RGW Construction, Syblon Reid, Westcon Construction Corp., T&S Construction Co., W. M. Lyles Company, Auburn Constructors, and McGuire and Hester. The board approved notifying the contractors of their eligibility to bid on the retrofit once the bid package is released.

Related to Auburn Lake Trails, was a bill from Psomas, the engineering firm preparing the plans for the retrofit. Kenneth Stram, Vice President of Program/Construction Management for Psomas, requested an additional payment of $149,270 for change orders made to the plans. Design plans are currently at 90 percent but were halted temporarily until the outcome of the Prop 218 process was determined.

GDPUD staff recommended only paying an additional $33,895 which was approved by the board and accepted by Psomas. The firm will now finish the plans with a projected completion date of Jan. 31, 2013.

Stram said the finished plans will include a cost estimate of building the plant. He advised the district to include a five percent override for change orders to the plant upgrade because of any unanticipated costs that may be associated with the project.

The board also approved having El Dorado County Water Agency (EDCWA) represent GDPUD during upcoming Bay-Delta proceedings. Dave Eggerton, the manager of the water agency, said EDCWA recently joined the Sacramento Valley Water Users Coalition in its Bay-Delta Joint Defense efforts, and he asked GDPUD to join them.

The group includes more than 25 Northern California water agencies who are fighting to protect the water rights of upstream water right holders. Eggerton said the Bay-Delta discussions include possibly re-opening the issue or original water rights and a united front is needed to protect those rights.

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

 

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Discussion | 14 comments

  • EvelynNovember 18, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    Interesting.

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  • Zeke SlateNovember 18, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    So the attorney who dined at ratepayer expense and said nothing when a quorum of the Board met for its "after meeting wrap up" lunches (Can anybody spell Brown Act violation?) has decided to resign....little wonder.

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  • Pat SnellingNovember 19, 2012 - 11:04 am

    What I find MOST interesting in this REPORT (not a news story)is that NOTHING is said about Atty. Wright writing a resolution saying: "The Board here ratifies ALL contracts entered into by the General Manager."..... ALL contracts? Even the ones that the GM has BLOCKED the Board from seeing??? Who was the Attorney REPRESENTING??? and one final question: Who was Ray Griffiths, Norm Krizl and Bonnie Neeley representing when they approved Wright's resolution, ignoring the public's objection to a blanket EXONERATION? Wright never fought for the BOARD like he did for the GM...... Not a word said by Dawn Bonnie McLane's loud and strong objection to wiping the GM's slate clean. "Why?" she asked.... "What does he need a clean slate for?".... Dawn must have been asleep during that part of the meeting....(She wouldn't be trying to spin her report, would she?)

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  • EvelynNovember 19, 2012 - 2:30 pm

    Pat: Was Wright's resolution saying: "The Board here ratifies ALL contracts entered into by the General Manager" a November 13th agenda item?

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  • Pat SnellingNovember 19, 2012 - 3:38 pm

    Yes. That's a quote from the document.... Ratifies EVERYTHING for the past 10 years..... I wish we had an attorney that would fight that hard for the ratepayers...

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  • Foaming at the MouthNovember 19, 2012 - 3:48 pm

    Evelyn - you could, you know, actually go to the website and read it for yourself. I never do that, but I hear some people do.

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  • EvelynNovember 19, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    Pat, thanks. ********** Foaming, you're right. The thought occurred to me immediately after asking the question. I've downloaded the agenda packet. Interesting.

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  • EvelynNovember 20, 2012 - 12:12 pm

    Pat: Wish I had a lawyerly mind to penetrate and nail down legalese. Failing that, I'm not sure that Resolution 2012-18 actually DOES ratify all contracts/agreements entered to in the past 10 years (though that well may be its intended reading). The language seems predominantly present/future tense. ********** Interesting is that this apparently flows from Agenda Item 17.A (1/10/2012) when the only information available to the public prior to the meeting was a one-page GDPUD organizational chart. Congratulations to Maria Capraun for picking up on this. ********** NOTE: On 1/10/2012 the District commended retired staff member Rebecca Siren for her service. On 2/3/2012 Rebecca Siren (Principal Owner of Siren & Associates) was contracted by Mr. White to assist the District with Regulatory Compliance. I’m assuming the practice of moving from staff position to contracted service has become common practice.

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  • EvelynNovember 20, 2012 - 12:32 pm

    Its looking like the only way to understand what actually happened at the meeting is to listen to the recording. Damn! In the meantime, I have some sympathy for Dawn Hodson who reported. Two reasons: (1) Grasping the import of any particular meeting/decision often means having to dig through A LOT of what came before -- laborious and time consuming. (2) Not being intimately and legally familiar with all that came before, it is easy to miss the significance of present issues, their handling and resolution.

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  • Pat SnellingNovember 20, 2012 - 2:42 pm

    The Resolution 2012-18, Section 2, second sentence says: "The Board hereby ratifies ALL contracts entered into by the General Manager.".....I don't know a single attorney who would allow the words, "hereby ratifies all." That means as of now -- any contracts that the GM did (Now or past)are considered approved by the Board, and the GM has been here for more than 10 years.... What I find so interesting is that, the Attorney wrote that language to STOP the Board from doing anything about past contracts. Maria Capraun says this covers the Attorney more than the GM on contracts that were NOT BROUGHT to the Board. Either way the REPORTER didn't report on this.... and the HEADLINE makes it sound like poor old Wright was picked on..... Interesting.

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  • EvelynNovember 20, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    Hi, Pat. Your understanding may be right on the mark. Certainly I accept it to have been the drafter(s) intent. Any experienced contract lawyers out there? Para 2, in full, reads: “The Board from time to time authorizes the General Manager to enter into contracts for professional services in excess of $10,000 on behalf of the District. The Board hereby ratifies all such contracts entered into by the General Manager on behalf of the District, provided that the payments for such professional services are approved by the Board under the accounts payable section of the agenda.”

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  • Foaming at the MouthNovember 20, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    Hey, Pat - you made me look. And no, that's NOT what it says. You left out a word ("such") in the part you quoted, that ties the second sentence to the first. You also left out the rest of the sentence, "provided that the payments for such professional services are approved by the Board under the account payable section of the agenda." Kind of important. But hey, who's Foaming at the Mouth to criticize anyone else for hysteria? Carry on, carry on.

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  • EvelynNovember 20, 2012 - 7:43 pm

    Pat: After listening to the audio @ http://www.gd-pud.org/minutes/DS_11.13.12.WMA (2:13 - 2:37) I believe your interpretation is correct. The Board approved General Counsel William Wright's resolution retroactively approving ALL CONTRACTS entered into by General Manager Hank White.

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  • EvelynNovember 20, 2012 - 8:46 pm

    Kathy Otermat and other members of the community frequently have raised the need for GDPUD to institute appropriate policies and procedures. In this context it merits noting that the annual financial report by independent auditors Moss, Levy & Hartzheim references "Significant Deficiences". To quote: “During the review of internal controls, it was noted that there are no formal accounting policies with regards to purchasing and reporting suspected fraud. … Without formal fraud reporting policy, employees are less likely to report suspected fraud. Also, without duties and responsibilities outlined for the Audit Committee, the Committee does not have any guidelines to follow to ensure that they are operating as intended. ********** “During the review of internal control, it was noted that adjusting journal entries do not have approval signatures. ********** “During the review of capital assets, it was noted that the District does not assess capital assets for impairment on an annual basis. Without an assessment of capital assets for impairments, assets may be overvalued on the books of the District, which could lead to a material misstatement in the financial statements.********** “During our examination of the General Manager’s employment contract, we noted it lacked signatures of the General Counsel and the Board President. Without authorizing signatures, we are unable to ensure the validity of the contract.”

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