Last night’s SLV Water Board Meeting offered up glimpses of the board’s refashioned public outreach intentions, and ongoing reminders of the challenges the board faces via the ineffectual day-to-day management of the district.
Director Margaret “F-Bomb” Bruce, lead a discussion regarding the formation of a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC), designed to provide rate-payer input to the board on key topics such as the facility requirements, and the Capital Improvement Program.
Directors Vierra, Prather and Rapoza were adamant about controlling the seating of the committee, much the same way as the board implanted favored political and environmental groups in past CACs. Chairman Vierra voiced extreme concern about the possibility of a board-sponsored CAC providing reviews of the board’s and management performance.
In the real world of product and service focus/input groups, any organization that choreographs “stacking the deck” when it comes to customer feedback, gets nothing back but a self-induced ego-stroke. All show and self-gratification. No substance.
“I don’t want to be micro-managed” stated Chairman Vierra. Too late!
The board's management team, through their poor execution and belligerent attitude during the development of the Prop 50 Intertie Project, spawned the creation of the board’s exclusive review committee, the SLV Watchdogs.
The repeated issue of the night was the operational roadblock due to beyond-significant delays in releasing the 2012-2013 Audited Financial Statement, and the budget for the current 2013-2014 fiscal year. Decisions on how to move forward with infrastructure upgrades have been stalled. Grant requests have been delayed. And the acquisition of healthy and safe office space for the admin staff has been put off until management produces these reports. The 2012-2013 fiscal year ended in June 2013. Five months later and they’re still running financially blind. And now everything has come to a screeching halt.
The board’s frustration went into a high-boil during the review of the Bill Pay List when the ever-diligent and financially-skilled rate-payer, Bruce Hollaway, pointed out that numbers didn’t add up. In fact, the total expenditure approved and delivered by the General Manager for approval of the board, was $84,000+ less than the actual expenditures.
When questioned by a visually dismayed and pointedly distressed board chairman as to the reasons for the gross discrepancy in the math, GM Mueller stammered that it was an error on the part of his finance staff and he would republish a corrected report.
A true leader and business professional takes accountability for the activity of his or her organization. In the real world, delivering unverified information to your board, that places them in greater public scrutiny, gets you a front row seat on the Unemployment Express. It will be interesting to see how long the board tolerates this risk-level.
This was but one point of the board’s overall frustration in relation to the actions and challenges they are incurring with their management’s questionable performance. Other pain points include the ongoing staffing issues, the PR performance over the last 60 days, and the continual delays in high-value revenue collections. The board is openly realizing that for three of them, Vierra, Prather and Rapoza, management’s performance to-date leaves them highly vulnerable in an election year.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that infrastructure repairs and upgrades are the least of the challenges for the SLV Water board of directors. Regaining control of their organizational and political futures are the true hurdles obstructing their path to regaining the trust of the rate-payer base.
And the Watchdogs will be keeping you in touch with their success...or failure.