Still Here – Much to the Dismay of the Other Four Directors and the General Manager

Time flies- no joke there. The difficulty? writing blogs that are not Debbie-downers. How do you put positive spins on things over and over again? I’ll cogitate on that and let you know if I have an epiphany.

Thus far, I have attended seven NYWD Board meetings. There was no meeting in May – allegedly because there wasn’t a quorum of directors – although, we don’t know that for sure as the meeting was cancelled and apparently we just have to take the GM’s word for it. Normally, you meet, take roll call, and when it is apparent there is no quorum, the meeting is dismissed. That way the public gets to assure themselves that there was no quorum. That is called “being transparent”. Transparency is not what NYWD is about.

In the last seven months, I have done the following, although this is only a partial list:

  1. Asked to have a finance committee and bill paying committee established.
  2. Asked to have the Irrigation Policy placed on the agenda for review.
  3. Asked to have the Use of District Resources placed on the agenda for revision.
  4. Asked to have the Rules of Conduct placed on the agenda.
  5. Asked to have the Setting the Agenda Policy placed on the agenda for revision to make it possible for the public to get items on the agenda.
  6. Asked to have a workshop for the public about the proposed 2020 budget.
  7. Asked to have an ad hoc committee to research how to improve the agency’s public image and how to best reach out to the community.
  8. Asked for NYWD to reach out to SFWPA.
  9. Asked for NYWD to accept a meeting request by SFWPA.
  10. Created a resolution to restrict the creating of resolutions to the purview of the Board and prohibiting the GM from self-authoring resolutions of his own making.
  11. Brought the violation of NYWD vehicle policy by the GM to the attention of the Board.
  12. Requested information on the finances of NYWD.
  13. Requested a copy of the engineering plans for the Forbestown Ditch and draft CEQA documents.

The response by the Four Male Directors to each request or suggestion, was to stare at the ceiling or the conference table as I made these suggestions and/or requests and sit mute. They said not one word. As a unit – they have agreed to pretend I do not exist and to ignore everything I say, or suggest. As Director Gary Hawthorne stated to me on the phone when I called him after winning the election: ” I will NEVER align with you – I will never be seen to be aligned with you. Do not call me.”

While Eric Hansard chastises me for daring to ask a question, (note the pointing finger), the remaining Board members are fascinated by their laps and the ceiling. This is typical behavior by the Four Male Directors.

Not one item on that list was acted on and little to none of the information I have requested has been provided.

The Four Directors and their Dear Leader, GM Maupin, have formed a more perfect union and now simply steamroll through whatever the GM puts on the table. For example, at the March 2019 board meeting, I requested to have the “Setting the Agenda Policy” on the agenda for the next month’s meeting. I hoped that we could revise the policy to ensure the public and the board members had an opportunity to get items on an agenda.

Currently, there is no way for a member of the public to get an item on the agenda and it is even difficult for a board member to get an item on the agenda. The GM sets the agenda and freely places items on the agenda that HE wants to be taken up by the Board. So for all intents and purposes, the agenda is set by the GM with little to no oversight or input from the board. (In fact, after Maupin had created and placed two resolutions on the agenda for a VOTE – not a discussion item – I wrote and presented a resolution to prohibit the GM from doing this and restricting the conception and direction of writing up resolutions to the authority of the Board. Of course- my presentation and request was ignored.)

The Four Directors ignored and rejected my request to put the “Setting the Agenda” policy on the next month’s agenda. It was therefore quite striking when – not five minutes after rejecting my proposal – Director Doug Neilson proposed to put the “Setting the Agenda” policy on the April agenda to incorporate a revision that would restrict Director’s input to three minutes only and would prohibit a Board Director from handing out any written materials. You can check this out for yourself by watching Minutes 43:05 through 55:00 on the video of the NYWD Board Meeting for March 28, 2019.

This was their answer to putting a muzzle on me and to prevent me from handing out written materials – which I had been doing. I had been providing information to the public at the meetings, as well as to the board. So now, I hand out my information before the meetings, along with the board packets I print and provide to the public. I don’t give the information to the Board.

UPDATE: (September 26, 2019). Having decided that restricting directors to three minutes during Director’s Input wasn’t enough of a restriction – during the September meeting, at Terry Brown’s suggestion, the Board voted to restrict Director’s comments, discussion and questions on everything to three minutes. See the video here:

That brings us loosely up to the present. Last week, Yuba Water Agency (YWA) put out an agenda for a committee meeting that included discussion of approving a grant for NYWD for almost a quarter of a million dollars for the the engineering plans for the Forbestown Ditch.

I knew nothing of this and wrote a letter to YWA and NYWD asking what this was all about. NYWD already has a $500,000 grant to pay for these so far- imaginary engineering plans. How could they need MORE money? Why wasn’t this presented to the Board and the public first?

This an overstep of the GM’s authority, going around the board and behind the public’s back. My letter and a social media blitz resulted in the withdrawal of the item from YWA’s agenda. But then yesterday morning (August 12, 2019) I received an email from NYWD announcing a “Special Meeting” for this morning. The subject? Yet another self-authored resolution by the GM to give himself complete authority with no oversight from the board to pursue whatever financing he wishes using whatever means he wishes.

This was an admission of guilt and a frantic CYA effort on his behalf and – predictably – a CYA effort that the Four Directors would enthusiastically approve.

This GM is currently under investigation by the California Water Resources Board for potential fraud in the application relative to the $500,000.00 grant NYWD received in 2017. Why would any board decide at this time, to give the GM carte blanche?

Further, this urgency by the GM to write this resolution and call a special meeting (which should be reserved for urgent matters) to get it approved- only proves that what he did was likely illegal. His action- and the action of the Four Directors today- are an admission of guilt. This is what people do when they are trying to cover their a#! after the fact.

I spoke out against yet another resolution authored by the GM (not the board), his calling a Special Meeting that was not ugent, and the subject of the resolution.

The Four Directors waxed fondly about what a great job the GM is doing, thanked him for all that he has done for NYWD, and of course approved the resolution.

Sexual discrimination is alive and well.

Feedback is always welcome!

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