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Helix Water District Board – Asleep Again

The Helix Water District Board of Directors is, again, asleep at the wheel. Staff circumvented the hiring process for an auditor and spent "less than" $50,000 without board approval.

I am running for the Helix Water District Board and here's one of the reasons why:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012, the Helix Water District (HWD) staff notified the Board of Directors (BOD) that they had hired a new auditor. Did you get that? Staff notified the BOD. 

The purpose of an outside auditor is to have an independent set of eyes examine the District’s books to prevent ethics breaches, or impropriety.

It isn't staff's place to hire the auditors. The BOD needs to make sure there is no conflict of interest in any way and at the very least, discussion needs to take place in a public forum. For example, it is important that the auditor isn't related to a staff or board member or a friend of a staff or board member. The District's ethics can be called into question and crimes can be hidden.    

During the meeting, when questioned by the only decent board member, Kathleen Coates Hedberg, staff claimed that they didn't need board approval because the cost is less than $50,000.

What? That's our money and they do need board approval. The BOD is tasked with hiring the auditor, the board secretary the general manager and legal council. How could this BOD allow a staff member to circumvent it's authority? 

My opponent, Chuck Muse, is on the hiring committee. However, he and the other three board members, gave it the big 'ol rubber stamp just as they do with about everything else, including unnecessary rate hikes. And worse yet, the new General Manager, Carlos Lugo, appears not to know better. Perhaps he will learn. 

I guess Mr. Muse forgot to do his job. 

We need change on the Helix Water Board. I hope you will vote for me November 6, 2012.

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David B Secor November 05, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Ratepayers in the Helix Water District need Lori Kern on the board. As she described above, the cronyism, arguable ethics violations, and in-your-face arrogance demonstrated by both board members and staff are clear indicators of a rogue organization that's declared itself not answerable to the people they are supposed to serve. It's long past time for a shake-up. Tuesday is the day. Do yourselves a big favor and vote for Lori Kern, a woman of courage, intelligence and character for Helix Water Board. She's the real deal.
Sheila Johnson November 06, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Sorry but Lori Kern has no idea about the water industry. Just another wanna be politician who will make up her own facts to get you to vote for her. Keep Helix the well run agency it is and don't listen to the wanna bes.
James Davis November 06, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Sheila, I had no idea that a utility service and designated district was considered an 'industry.' Whether this was an intentional faux pas or not, this is a board position, not a managerial or administrative position. I dont see how having someone in there to ruffle a few feathers and ask some questions of the current process for rate payers can hurt.
Sheila Johnson November 06, 2012 at 09:45 PM
James - I'm sorry you were confused by the term but it is commonly used. The point is that a water board should have people on it who know about the subject matter which Ms. Kern does not. They are not there just to "ruffle a few feathers" they are there to make important decisions that directly affect our pocketbooks and whether or not water will come out of your tap when you want it.
James Davis November 06, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Great. Thanks Sheila. I have seen Chuck Muse at the Council Meetings justifying some of the HWDs positions on what rate hikes are covering etc. I am not entirely sure that someone needs to be experienced in the subject as much as someone running for City Council needs to know about Civic administration. I dont know what Ms Kern has in regards to experience for the subject matter, but I would welcome anyone that has an open mind and thinks a little differently than knowing strictly about said subject. Otherwise we would be perpetually voting in the same poeple year after year and never knowing if those folks are actually doing the right thing or not.
David B Secor November 06, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Sheila Johnson reminds me of the Pentagon's response when audit was requested, "You CAN'T audit us. We're too big. Even we don't know where the money goes." Activities by current board member majority and appointed staff point to clear abuses of power. Sheila KNOWS this is true. Were she a stand up person she would admit it - then say how she intends to address it. Instead she says it's NOT happening. Puh-lease! Don't treat voters like idiots. If you don't know HWD's board is dysfunctional Sheila, you have no business being on it. And to imply that voting for an honest person like Lori Kern might mean water will not "come out of your tap when you want it" is contemptible. You may believe you are irreplaceable, but if that were true you would not resort to fear, intimidation, deception and personal attacks on Lori Kern to get votes.
Sheila Johnson November 06, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Calm down David. I was simply expressing an opinion on the qualifications of the candidate.
Lori Kern December 05, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Sheila, have we met? You seem to think you know what's in my head. You're bad mouthing me and you don't know me. Think about how you voted when your rates go up again in a few months.
Monsire March 02, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Lori Kern spends way to much time playing radical autonomist on internet blogs and when confronted she deletes pages and tries to hide. Lori how many people do you think want to hear you tell them that we don't bath in orange juice? Go back to school and learn how to gain real influence in life. For one stop being a radical liberal who brags about saving dogs but then supports the killing of unborn babies.

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