THE PERFECT FIRE

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LDPCSD BOARD MEETING OF APRIL 16, 2012

Establish quorum: President Bill Kinsella, VP Lew Richardson, Directors Emery Ross, Mark Skoien and Victor Afanasiev present along with Interim General Manager Dan Tynan and Financial Administrator/Treasurer/Board Secretary Charise Reeves. Pledge of allegiance.

UPDATE ON “THE PERFECT FIRE”

Seems like a contradictory title considering destruction and loss is typically associated with arson, however, there is a big difference between a structure being burned to the ground or gutted by fire as was our administration office on February 27th, 2012. It certainly could have been much worse.

I would suspicion many of you have in the past attempted to burn stacks of paper, old magazines, or books (naturally long before such incinerator type garbage burning was prohibited to reduce air pollution), but recall how the pages inside, insulated from contact with the flames, were often only slightly damaged compared to the exposed surfaces? How the “packed” pages actually had to be stirred around with a fire poker to insure total destruction and transformation into ash? Well, such was the case with our recent office fire and boxes of historical records. Very good news.

PINNACLE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT COMPANY

When Syndie Marchesiello (Customer Billing Representative) questioned our insurance carrier as to the documents damaged in the fire and how to proceed, our insurance adjuster suggested Pinnacle to perform the work. The document restoration process is approximately 50% complete but the results are extremely encouraging and according to Leo Grover it was the “perfect fire” in the sense record loss was minimized.

Mr. Grover advised he was surprised at how slow the fire recovery process was proceeding concerning the office replacement and offered his services as a general contractor for the job as he has worked closely with insurance companies in many different emergencies. He has been in contact with our insurance adjuster who is evidently in favor of having a third party assume the duties of a general contractor.

Pinnacle currently has over 15,000 of our files which are called “wet files” because the documents contain signatures, i.e., time cards, contracts, grant deeds, etc. Mr. Grover stated he took it upon himself (regardless of whether he would be reimbursed or not) to construct a detailed inventory of items and materials lost in the fire because he wanted to make sure everything was listed. Although initially totaling roughly $80,000 he advised the CSD might not choose to replace everything but was still entitled to the value lost. The loss estimate is now approximately $109,000 but is expected to increase. Once everything is cleared with the insurance company Grover estimated that the new building could be up and running around one month’s time. The definition of what constitutes an “emergency” is important on how to proceed. Grover stated the CSD could use his scope even if it decided to work with a different company but having a contractor was the best way to go.

A telephone call was made to the CSD attorney, Raymond Carlson, who suggested following the claims procedure and turning the matter over to the insurance company and allowing them to make the decision on how to best proceed.

Leo Grover further advised he believed the insurance company reserve should be around $250,000 to cover everything. (Documents and building replacement at $100,000 each.)

The board approved Mr. Grover to represent the CSD in regards to the fire pending the insurance company’s approval. Grover suggested presenting his scope to the insurance company for their review as the first step in the office rebuild. Essentially, the insurance company pays for the coverage but the board ultimately chooses the general contractor and if the insurance company accepts the offered scope, Pinnacle will be appointed for further restoration efforts.

PRESIDING OFFICER’S REPORT

President Kinsella stated that since IGM Tynan was seeking employment elsewhere he (Kinsella) felt the board should start advertising for the position. Directors Ross and Afanasiev suggested placing the item on the next agenda. Kinsella stated he could direct the Board Secretary to advertise for a general manager immediately. IGM Tynan advised he recently hired John Turner who has 31 years experience in water treatment and distribution and if his anticipated employment did not turn out he (Tynan) would like to go back to the treatment plant because the IGM position was not working out. A future Special Meeting will be scheduled to address that matter along with the continuing Personnel grievance matter between IGM Tynan and Charise Reeves.

MANAGER’S REPORT

Dan Tynan reported the leak on Banderilla Drive had been repaired and with the hiring of John Turner fire hydrant flushing and testing would resume. Only two routes remain for replacement with the AMR system, (4 out of 6 completed) however, that replacement has stopped due to the disruption caused by the office fire. Exact water loss was also difficult to report due to the fire. Tynan stated the new employee, John Turner, has a T-4/D-4 Grade License (Treatment and Distribution) and the highest grade is T-5/D-5.

TREASURER’S REPORT

Total restricted & unrestricted funds: $416,469. Approximately $19,000 has been spent on replacement items due to the fire. Two large bills have been paid, Merced Irrigation District water bill and the loan payment. Some accounts are over budget, including legal, vehicle maintenance and office overtime, some of the later will be recovered with insurance reimbursement.

Director Ross questioned the actual duties of the Finance Committee to which Reeves responded the auditor advised it could be anything we wanted it to be, but primarily it was just extra eyes looking at the treasurer’s report. Prior to approving the Treasurer’s Report VP Richardson questioned the legal fee amount and requirement that a separate vote of the Board be conducted to approve the over budget amount. Reeves initially stated a vote was only required if a director disputed the bill but after reading the fine print statement on page 14 agreed a separate vote was necessary. The statement under the title Additional Information read:

“Beginning March 2010, these payments will be made after each board meeting without board approval unless disputed by a board member as they are standard district expenses unless we exceed our budgeted amount.”

The board subsequently approved the payment for legal fees in the amount of $8,387.51.

Director Victor Afanasiev questioned the additional legal costs for further depositions in the two wrongful termination lawsuits that were brought years ago since depositions in the case had already been taken. The board agreed a closed session meeting would be scheduled for conference with the attorney so directors could be briefed on the status of the cases.

Ruth Smith reiterated her question from last month about paying for the extra Hughes internet service. Charise Reeves advised once her paperwork was returned from the document recovery company she could provide the follow up answers. Smith asked if it wouldn’t be cheaper to just pick up the phone and ask the questions directly rather than paying $90 a month for a service that wasn’t used. Reeves responded such communication was difficult due to outsourcing to India and without the account information nothing could be done. Mrs. Smith also asked if checks had been lost in the office fire because the Association had recently received a very large bill although a payment had been made earlier. Reeves stated it was her understanding checks were indeed lost in the fire and Mrs. Smith should check with the billing officer for details.

The board approved the read and file of the April Treasurer’s Report.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Reeves advised the fire had affected her production of Minutes and hoped she would be caught up with the February and March Minutes in the near future. Prior to approving the Operations, Finance, and Public Relations committee meeting minutes VP Richardson questioned when the Public Relations letter to the LDPOA (submitted last month regarding the use of the DISCOVERER to contact CSD customers) had been sent to which Reeves apologized stating it had not because she was in the middle of everything but it would be sent later that day.

The board approved the read and file of the consent calendar.

COMMITTEE MEETING UPDATES

MID Committee: After the last board meeting IGM Tynan and VP Richardson reviewed a restored map of the district and recorded APNs (Assessor Parcel Numbers) so the billing officer could cross check on the computer any availability charges that may have been paid to the district by outside place of use properties. Director Ross questioned why the public was not advised of the meeting so they could attend but Richardson explained ad hoc committees are not required to be agendized along with the fact the process required laying a large fire damaged restored map on the floor that required protection.

ACWA HEALTH BENEFITS AUTHORITY

The Board approved the ACWA Health Benefits Authority resolution to retain health benefits while making the transition to ACWA/Joint Powers Insurance Authority. Director Afanasiev requested that Charise Reeves remove the prior GM’s name from the material and replace it with the name of the current IGM.

OUTSIDE PLACE OF USE RESOLUTION

President Kinsella referred to the item as being VP Richardson’s, however, Richardson questioned why the resolution was even on the agenda since the board had decided further research was required regarding how many outside place of use properties were actually paying availability fees. Richardson specifically asked how the item had been placed on the agenda. Charise Reeves stated she had asked IGM Tynan if the resolution should be on the agenda. Richardson objected to Reeves’ explanation citing an email exchange between Reeves and himself that clearly identified the subject matter of the agenda item request. Tynan stated he was not aware of Richardson’s email. VP Richardson read the two emails:

Charise Reeves: As far as #4, can you please provide additional information on what exactly you want on the agenda and anything you want included in the packet.

Director Richardson: I do not understand why the Shaw and Martin (Morasci) properties remain on the Outside MIDPOU report since the meters have been pulled and no availability fees are paid. Perhaps the matter could be considered just normal office updating of information and simply removed but since they have not as of yet I thought the board might consider instructing staff to remove them (along with any others that may not be paying availability).

VP Richardson stated in exchange the resolution was placed on the agenda which had nothing to do with his request. Charise Reeves stated she did not decide what goes on the agenda. Richardson disagreed. Tynan again stated he had not seen the email. Reeves stated she provides matters to IGM Tynan and President Kinsella, they review material and then she is told what will or will not be on the agenda. Richardson asked if Dan did not write the letter to the LDPOA too? He continued by saying he was tired of all the excuses and referenced the office fire. Reeves stated the comment was uncalled for and it was not the first time. Richardson agreed stating it was about the third time he either had a conversation or answered an email from Reeves yet received exactly the opposite (in response). President Kinsella suggested moving on and Richardson agreed saying it (the resolution) should be tabled until the research process was complete.

FENCING

IGM Tynan briefed the board on estimates for fencing around particular equipment that needed further security. Director Mark Skoien suggested since the district may be appointing a General Contractor perhaps he could also handle any additional fencing that might be required in addition to the office area. Discussion ensued, however no motion was made on the matter.

A recess was called prior to the board going into closed session.

Closed Session: Conference with legal counsel regarding Agee vs. LDPCSD – report out – district will defend itself.

My best to you and yours, Lew

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