TID Board Vacancy Op-Ed by DJ Fransen
With the unfortunate death of TID Director Phil Short, a replacement must fill the position.
I believe that a special election should be held but I know that the current Board will try saying the $40,000 cost is too much to give people the choice to vote for their representative, despite the fact that TID’s budgets over the next two years will deal with billions of dollars. Just the merit pay (bonuses) given to certain employees this year totaled almost $500,000.
An appointment for a Division 1 Director will most likely be made by the TID Board of Directors.
Division 1 represents a population of 33,591 according to TID based on the 2000 Census.
Hughson’s population is 6,127 according to the city’s website. Denair’s population is 3,917 according to 2007 city-data.com.
Turlock, east of Geer, and the surrounding rural areas to the north and east represent the remaining 23,547 customers in Division 1. Turlock has grown from 55,810 to 70,158 since 2000 so the number of customers has also increased.
I believe that a representative who is amongst the majority of the Division 1 customers is due. Hughson and their rural areas have been represented well for the last 32 years.
Directors do not have to meet any minimum requirement regarding experience or knowledge, while only being required to meet the qualifications demanded by election law at the Stanislaus County Clerk’s office. This gives voters or a Board a lot of room in justifying why they choose someone to represent the customers. Again, I feel that any Board of Director Member could justify choosing a representative from the most customer populated area in Division 1, East Turlock.
I have heard many words on the street (and canal banks) of who may be appointed and when.
My opinion is that the appointment should be made after the two new Directors are elected, whoever they may be. This eliminates the possibility of perceived “outgoing hookups” or “undermining of the new Board” by current Directors who only have two months left until they are replaced. Let our new TID Board of Directors choose (if the voters don’t get to choose) who they will work with for the remaining 2 years of Short’s term.
This is a historic time for TID as the Board of Directors will see three new members, and four in just two years as Rob Santos was elected in 2007. TID will be facing historic challenges with water right retention, renewable energy mandates, and expensive capital projects; all while trying to provide the best service of water and electricity at the most affordable rates possible.
This is the perfect time to define the new era by also changing the public Board Meetings from the 9:00am start time to a time such as 5:30pm or later so people who work can actually attend. This would be a gesture showing more accountability and transparency while also really inviting the customers they represent to attend and participate.
TID is a public organization with elected officials we vote for; I’m excited to see it getting the attention it deserves.