By Emerson Drake
Just when you think things are somewhat under control down at the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) the old guard pulls a
fast one. And just like they have in the past they voted for an incomplete piece of legislation called Board Policies Regarding Board Governance Process and Staff Linkage. This was a ghost from the past since it was under this ‘guise’ they voted for the “Serpa” rule. This was how Allen Short used to manipulate the information made available to elected Board members and the public. One of the main parts of the original policy enabled the General Manager to use a ’15 minute rule’ as a tool to limit staff time to research questions from the MID Board.
Here is the scary part. According to General Manager Roger Van Hoy parts of the policy were not included in the material on the website and in the packets passed out to the public AND the Directors. Here is the incomplete segment the Directors and the public were allowed to see.
The General Manager stated links to “other” policies” would be added using hyper-links referencing the other unnamed policies and enforced. I specifically asked if any of the old SERPA rule were included. NO response was given. I requested a delay so the Board could read the entire policy they would be voting for and was ignored. Director Larry Byrd said he didn’t realize this was an action item and requested more time to study the proposed governance policy.
Unfortunately Unity of Control BL-4 which was approved IS the Serpa Rule
Once again the ultimate power is in the hands of the General Manager and the best we can hope for is a benevolent Dictator
. BL-4 states: B. In the case of Board members or committees with MID employees or contractors requesting information or assistance without Board authorization, the General Manager or the General Council MUST refuse such requests that require, in their opinion, a material amount of staff time, or funds, or are disruptive. In the past Allen Short used a 15 minute time limit as his policy for a material amount of staff time. And just what describes disruptive?
Tom Van Groningen and Paul Warda revisit the crime scene
Directors Van Groningen and Warda were among the Directors voting for the original policy and Glen Wild has been a rubber stamp from the beginning of his term four years ago. Sadly it appears the lame ducks are desperate for so sort of legacy. I would have thought they had placed enough anchors around the necks of ratepayers in the form of sky-high rates.
Paul Warda had promised to vote against this policy at the last meeting
He did come up to me during a short break five minutes prior to the Board taking up the policy and informed me of his rethinking his prior decision against the governance policy and that he would be supporting it. It seems a legacy, no matter how devastating, is more important to these three lame ducks than having helped improve MID.
You can register your unhappiness with their decision by emailing the MID Board at firstname.lastname@example.org Ask them to take BL-4 out of the Governance policy immediately.