The Lake Shastina Community Services District board at its Sept. 16 regular meeting handled a lengthy agenda that included discussion of a new district water well, board president Roxanna Layne’s access to district computer records, a new contract with district counsel, and a possible termination of the business agreement between the district and the Lake Shastina Property Owners’ Association.
Mario Marchi provided figures to the board to support his contention that separating the POA from the CSD will save the district money.
He said the figures show that the district would save approximately $92,000 in administrative and public works salaries and benefits, but acknowledged that the exact reduction in labor and administration costs if employees are working only for the CSD are unknown. “That savings could be offset by increased contract labor as needed for temporary help with specific projects.”
His figures were challenged by members of the public, and director Mike French asked him, “Whose job are you going to vacate?”
Members of the public requested that information presented to the board be shared with the public audience, and that a professional presentation should be given so the public can see how the LSPOA/LSCSD agreement works.
LSPOA board president Jim Durden said that, as the largest POA in the district, its operations and staff is close to that of the CSD.
“It’s made sense to share and it has worked well for a long time. The very fact that we’re still together proves that it works,” he told the board.
Durden also said that the LSPOA “has been asking since January for you to come up with a couple of people to meet with our people and talk about our fondest hopes and dreams going forward.” He said the combined group should be able to come up with a proposal likely to generate three or four scenarios that will work for both entities.
Layne responded that there had been a committee of LSPOA and district people.
French reminded her, “You took me off that committee and you took my place. There have been no meetings since that time.” He said Layne and director Barbara Thomsson are the representatives on the committee.
“It’s time for the two sides to sit down with our facts and figures and work this out. It’s time,” Mitchell commented.
Thomsson said she wanted to make a motion that “the old contract is over.”
Winston said the board is treating the situation as if no agreement exists, “but there is a de facto agreement. Although we haven’t renewed the contract we’ve been sharing staff. It’s as if both sides are still in agreement.”
An ad hoc committee meeting was set for Monday, September 21 at 10 a.m. to discuss the matter with LSPOA representatives.
District records access
Board director Paula Mitchell reported that she had heard from community members concerned both with board president Roxanna Layne’s remote access to the district computer records and data and also with the fact that a back-up hard drive is being kept in the district counsel’s office.
“This is an issue the community is wrestling with. They don’t understand why,” she said.
Layne told the board that she had been appointed by Jamie Lea to assist with information technology.
She also said she understood that LSPOA interim general manager Will Bullington had contracted with the district’s technology service provider, Computer Logistics, to get the POA and CSD records separated and protected with passwords.
Senior accounting clerk Debbie Nelle told Layne, “You are not a staff member. It is improper and it is beyond the scope of your role. It opens the board to liability. I know there are documents on there for which people have not given permission to be viewed. Jamie has told me that I’m wrong and that I’m just a clerk, but I know.”
Layne responded that both the Computer Logistics attorney and district counsel Bob Winston were asked before she gained remote access whether it was a legal to do so.
The board approved a contract with the Kirsher, Winston & Boston legal firm with a four to one vote. Mitchell cast the negative vote.
Before the vote was cast, Mitchell urged the board to look at all proposals from other firms. “Are these fees competitive? I have no basis for comparison,” she said.
Winston said he is charging the board $200 per hour, with no charge for travel time or mileage.
He also explained that the contract under consideration for his services was “at will.”
“Under state bar rules, you always have the right to terminate your attorney,” he said.
New water well
Interim general manager Jamie Lea withdrew his property from consideration as the site of a new district water well and presented a draft agreement with the Lake Shastina Golf Course for drilling a new well on its property.
Director Paula Mitchell requested more information, asking specifically for a written proposal for drilling a test well, with mapping.
Responding to a question from the public as to whether the agreement was for leasing the well site property from the golf course, Mitchell said she felt any agreement should be “as clean and separate as we can make it. Let’s pay a fair price and own the property and the equipment. Then we can do a contract agreement for the golf course to buy water if it wants to.”
The agreement, which Lea emphasized was just a draft, states, “The intent of this agreement is exchange of land and easements for emergency short-term needs for water by the golf course. It is not ‘will the need arise,’ it is ‘when the need arises.’”
Golf course owner Bill Duchi commented from the audience that the draft agreement was “very preliminary.”
Lea and Public Safety Chief Mike Wilson agreed to continue to fine tune a draft ordinance concerning hazardous vegetation abatement.
The board approved a direction to Winston to proceed with arbitration arrangements to settle the matter of whether the LSPOA must pay 50 percent of former general manager John McCarthy’s severance pay. The vote was three to two, with Mitchell and French voting against.
The board approved emergency repairs to sewer Station 113.