Monday, 05 June 2023

Water district board to meet, choose new director

CLEARLAKE OAKS – The Clearlake Oaks County Water District Board will hold a special meeting Thursday to select a new director.


The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the district's office, 12952 E. Highway 20.


Last month, longtime board member Pat Shaver resigned shortly after community members began to call for her removal from the board at a particularly heated public meeting to discuss a potential rate hike, as Lake County News has reported.


Within days of Shaver's resignation, board Vice President Mike Anisman and President Helen Locke also tendered their resignations. Both had said in previous interviews that the district's serious financial condition had come as a total surprise to them after they were seated earlier this year.


Anisman's resignation became effective Sept. 5; Locke's originally was to have taken effect Sept. 5 as well.


However, that was going to leave the board without a quorum and hamper its ability to choose new directors to fill the vacant slots, so Locke pushed back her resignation date and will stay to help choose Shaver's replacement, which is the purpose of Thursday's meeting.


Four candidates have expressed interest in succeeding Shaver – Mike Benjamin, who has served in various public service capacities in the city of Wheatland; Bob White, a former board member who lost his reelection bid last November, the same time as Locke, Anisman and Frank Toney were elected; Dena Barron, owner of Lake Village Estates; and Lowell Estep, who works for Highlands Water District.


Locke told Lake County News Tuesday that the board will interview the four candidates during the special meeting and then make a decision. The board also will consider adopting a resolution to change signatures on two bank accounts.


She said the board is still finding out the protocol for how it must appoint new directors to take the seats she and Anisman are vacating. Those replacements aren't expected to be named Thursday.


Estep said Tuesday he became interested in joining the board after he heard about their original rate hike proposal, which suggested 39.4-percent increases for both sewer and water.


In his role at Highlands Water, Estep takes care of the district's pipes, so he understands how a water district operates.


He said it's important to get audits of the district's books done so informed decisions can be made.


Estep also suggested that it's important to do one's homework before going to a board meeting “screaming and yelling,” such as what happened at the rate hike meeting last month.


On Tuesday the district's recently formed finance committee met for the first time. Toney, who spearheaded the group in order to put more focus on managing the district's budget, said the meeting went well.


In addition to choosing a new director, the board is expected to adopt a previously approved resolution to change the district's meetings from 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday to 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.


Directors agreed last month to move the meetings to encourage more public participation.


If that resolution is finalized Thursday, the district board will hold its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 18.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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