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Neeley running again for GDPUD

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From page A1 | October 05, 2012 | 6 Comments

Bonnie Neeley

Running for a second term as a board member of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District is Bonnie Neeley. A former contracting grant officer for UC Berkeley, she has lived in Georgetown for 13 years. Neeley said that prior to running for the board for the first time, she attended meetings for several years.

When asked why she was running again, Neeley said initially she didn’t plan to but changed her mind when she became concerned that if she or board member Norm Krizl weren’t reelected, board members McLane and Otermat would “have a quorum and within three months could dismantle quite a bit of the district.

“The biggest threat is the loss of really long-term knowledgeable staff,” she said. “Losing people who have been there a number of years and built up a tremendous amount of knowledge about the district and have been able to stretch our finances as far as they have.”

Neeley said McLane had previously made it clear that she wanted to fire General Manager Hank White. “She’s never made any bones of the fact that she wants to reduce salaries, wants to get rid of people, and she seems to think that there are any number of people in the community that could easily be general manager without spending that amount of money.”

Neeley thinks McLane’s grudge against the district goes back when, “for several years in a row, they (she and her husband) were stealing ditch water and got caught any number of times.

“I’m concerned that five good people have left and two more are leaving at the end of the year.” She noted that Mary Pat Frick, the district’s business finance manager, and Janice Fayter, Administrative Assistant II, will be leaving in December. Fayter’s letter of resignation stated a hostile work environment as the reason. Neeley said two other employees left for the same reason and she blames Otermat and McLane because of the sweeping statements they have made about freezing salaries and making reductions.

“It has made employees very nervous.”

Neeley said Frick’s leaving will be a big loss to the district. “CPAs have a very stringent code of ethics they adhere to and to have people pop up out of the audience and throw out stupid comments like  ’Don’t you balance your checkbook?’ She has never been treated so badly. Her job is so complicated. She takes care of investing money. She was so good at it that one year before the housing bubble … she made $360,000 for the district by playing the CD market. Last year we were down to $50,000 in interest because of minimal interest paid … She’s very good at meeting all the reporting requirements as well.

“Hank worries about the staff all the time. In October he was eligible for a 2 percent increase that was in his contract, but he turned it down because employees hadn’t got an increase in four years and he felt he couldn’t take it when he couldn’t offer them anything.”

Clashes with Otermat

Neeley indicated that she views Kathy Otermat as more of a problem than McLane because she thinks she is dishonest and comes with “all kinds of baggage.” She said that before anyone even knew who she was, Otermat applied for a job with the district but wasn’t interviewed because her resume was so “squirrely.” According to Neeley, Otermat claimed to have worked for Apple but couldn’t remember the dates and implied that she graduated from Stanford University, but couldn’t remember that date either.

Neeley said that while Otermat frequently accuses the district of mismanagement, she is someone whose water bills were late three out of six times, her rent payments were routinely late when she had a business downtown, she still owes $50,000 on the county tax rolls to the state, and there are other incidents that cast doubt on her honesty.

Neeley said as a board member, Otermat campaigned against health benefits for the board but voted for them when the board voted to end them. She took files from the office while claiming to have never done so. During the effort to recall her, she and her supporters tried to intimidate those collecting signatures. And at the meeting where Otermat was removed as treasurer, she claimed she took a photograph of a check on Aug. 8 which later turned out to have cleared the bank a week earlier. ”A few days later on her Website, Otermat claimed she was vindicated!” She just made it up!” said Neeley. “But her supporters don’t care.”

“(However) Otermat has brought up some legitimate concerns about the lack of policies,” said Neeley. She said if she and Krizl are reelected, “I hope we can find a way to work with Otermat and McLane by accepting some of their ideas and integrate some of their concerns to smooth things out.” Neeley still thinks that McLane could make a good director, in part because of her knowledge of the infrastructure of the district.

Accomplishments

Neeley said she feels she has accomplished several important objectives as a board member. She feels she has changed the atmosphere on the board to be more appreciative of the entire customer base and to make decisions that are fair to the customers as well as the district. In the past, decisions were too heavily weighed towards the district, she said, because of arrogance on the part of some board members.
She also pressured the board to reduce the budget in anticipation of revenue losses after the housing bubble burst. Forty percent of the district’s revenue comes from property taxes. Together with other board members, she eliminated all non-local travel, froze salaries, stopped new hires, canceled health benefits for board members, and voted for other cost-saving measures.

In regards to what she wants to accomplish, Neeley said she wants to work with the board and general manager to negotiate a smaller operating budget while at the same time meeting all parts of the district’s mission statement, infrastructure needs, and taking care of employees.

“Top management haven’t had an increase in four years and the administrative staff haven’t one for two years. We have to do something to recognize staff. But if the budget stays really flat or diminishing, we may have to take a hard look at benefits.”

Neeley is proud that the district continues to accomplish things. “Hank and Kelly (Assistant Operations Manager Kelly Shively) keep working hard at watching for grants, watching for opportunities, upgrading systems. But all of that takes time. The public doesn’t understand how much paperwork and administrative work comes with a water district. We have to meet all the requirements the big guys have to meet even though we’re only a $3 million a year entity.”

Neeley said in general people in the community are happy with the services provided by the district. “But to keep challenging people about their honesty and integrity just ruins things. The community is getting tired of the nastiness. People who’ve been around awhile are concerned when employees started leaving.”

I think the district is at a very dangerous place,” she said. “Some people won’t take any of this seriously. But we may go through some really horrible time and then the community will take it seriously.”

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

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 6 comments

  • Lilly who is voting out incumbents like this!!October 04, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    This Director has lost her mind. She called one of the Directors a liar and the other a thief. Then she said if she is re-elected she would take some of their ideas and use them? Why didn't she used them when they were first presented? You have just insulted your fellow Board members and now you say if re-elected you will try to get along? What do you think we are idiots!! You have to go!! You are the problem just like your fellow Board member Krizl. Both of you have to get off that Board. You have hate and despise for your fellow members. How can we expect either of you to do a good job with your poor attitudes. See ya, your gone.

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  • hmmmmOctober 04, 2012 - 4:07 pm

    Neeley makes it sound like GDPUD water pretty much will cease flowing if in November the Board's balance shifts from 3/2 to 2/3, or . . . heaven forbid, 1/4 (the denominator, of course, being the guys wearing the BLACK HATS.) There's only one way to find out!!! BTW, hats off to self-sacrificial Hank White. Neeley tells us this year he's foregoing a 2% pay raise. But since he's already earning 20% more than EID's General Manager, White can afford to wait this year out.

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  • Can't wait for NovemberOctober 04, 2012 - 5:01 pm

    Bonnie Neeley is undoubtedly tied with Krizl as the worst Directors I can remember in GDPUD history. Neeley because she ran with the same goals as Directors Otermat and McLane then got a crush on the GM, became a puppet to him and is now his staunchest defender, giving those who voted for her the middle finger. She is a pet psychic who has the reputation in town for just being plain crazy, opening cages with chicks because they told her "free me! free me!", only to have them run over on the street, telling loving dog owners that their dog wants to know when they are going to be put asleep, feeding molding hay to livestock that then requires medical care because "they told me they were hungry". She has no chance in heck of being re-elected. So Neeley did you interview Kathy Otermat when she applied? I heard this story long before she was ever a director because a friend of hers stated she applied but was told by the office staff "well you know so and so's going to get the job, so why are you applying?" Kathy's friend said with your education and experience if you don't get an interview that just confirms the hiring practices at GDPUD. More of Hank White's B.S. to cover up his own incredible incompetency, uncompliance with hiring practices and egotism. And really Bonnie how would you know what her payment status is? I thought you were a steward and would not pass on confidential information? Does the District pass on account information to those not on the account? Bob Villalobos too stated she was late on water bills for her business but Otermat has never had a business account? And do you have copies of her rental payment dates? Perhaps the next board should investigate how a director and the member of the public is getting this kind of information, who is giving it to them and why would they think it's OK to pass this on, and most likely it is tainted and incorrect if it's coming from GM Hank White or his assistants Dolly Barron and Stephanie Beck? So Maria Capraun and Pat Snelling would you take the baton on this matter when you are sworn in and provide the integrity that Bonnie Neeley obviously doesn't have? Too late Director Neeley you had your chance and you totally blew it. The public has a memory. Everything you ran on you disregarded once you were in office and you have the audacity to criticize and tell lies about the directors who are stronger than you and take the commitment to represent the PUBLIC when you didn't. I have listened to meetings and you are incredibly vicious and hateful, when at the same time you hav ethe nerve to call the new directors and their supports the hostile ones. Neeley and Krizl should take a good look in the mirror and you'll find the source for much of the hostility in the district. The audio tapes of the meetings don't lie. It's recorded, its can be referenced on flushthewaste.com and it is your downfall.

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  • B. Keegan, Pilot HillOctober 04, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    Good job with your interview Director Neeley or should I say great? No not great for you but for Kathy Otermat's attorney. Just loving how ignorant people think they can tell lies and think there are no repercussions. Neeley you threw out a heck of a lot of defamatory statements. I hope Kathy and her attorney waits until the smoke clears then makes you pay big time. Hey Mountain Democrap, just keep printing this crap since it seems to be Dawn Hodson and Mike Raffety's tactics that are only turning readers off and away. Everyone should start going to inedc.com and don't give your money to pay for Raffety and Hodson's salaries. The Mtn Democrat too shall pass my friends. And on to another subject matter, GDPUD's GM makes 20% more than EIDS! with 10% of the customers and 10% of EIDs employees and Ambercrombie has an MBA and came in with 30 years GM experience! The GDPUD GM should get a 50% cut in salary.... no how about no salary and let's hire Ambercrobie for GDPUD! On second thought, put the net out wider, in this economy there have got to be some absolutely Great GM's that GDPUD can hire. Everything I'm hearing from White's own mouth would make me think why would a new board keep him? It's not their fault, it's his, Neeley. You and Krizl just don't have the cajones to correct the problem but we ratepayers deserve better Directors and GM. It's the finances, stupid.

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  • M. FloresOctober 07, 2012 - 10:07 pm

    Ms. Neeley, You are correct. The community is tired of all the nastiness, however YOU, Krizl Nd White are the major sources of the nastiness. You totally proved my point when in this interview you once again have to spew out your vile against a fellow director. You are incredibly hypocritical. When you can't fight with the facts, slander is your tactic. Shameful.

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  • Carolyn B.October 18, 2012 - 2:20 pm

    Wow - this is what negative old lady! I'm filling out my absentee ballot and decided to search for their names and this article showed up. Sounds like all she can do is spew out hate and doesn't have any ideas to improve this district. Her "accomplishment" is that she changed the atmosphere on the board to be more appreciative of the entire customer base and to make decisions that are fair to the customers as well as the district. Wow - she needs to look into the mirror at one of the two people (Krizl being the other) that have been champions FOR the district and not the public. Has she voted along "party" lines with the GM? You get she has! Dis she turn her back on those that supported her when she ran on campaign promises to reduce excessive salaries and transparency? you get she did. I have seen emails from her send to customers chastizing them on their negative tone - the GM doesn't need to respond to emails with such a tone! (her dear boyfriend Hank White). We need her out! She was too easily swayed by a snake charmer. A Director has important responsibilities to the public and she has been a huge disappointment.

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