mountainecho.com

September 10, 2012

Editorial

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 8:13 pm

The Fall River Valley Community services District’s manager does as he damned well pleases and the board goes along with it.
A few meetings ago the board authorized Manager John Van den Bergh to hire an attorney as long as it wouldn’t cost the district’s customers any money.
As with so many of Van den Bergh’s promises he obviously didn’t have any intentions of honoring it. Last month the board authorized the payment of the district’s bills which included a $1,886 payment to the attorney. Then, last week, they held a special meeting and approved accepting a $2,000 grant and taking out a low interest loan for $6,000 to cover the attorney fees. Either they have dementia or they don’t care.
Two of those running for the board were the ones responsible for hiring a consultant that has cost the district in the neighborhood of $20,000 for studies that LAFCO neither needed or wanted, and their anger and hatred for LAFCO has led to an unnecessary continuous and nasty battle when if they had done as most other districts do and listened to LAFCO, followed their advice, done their due diligence, which didn’t require hiring a consultant, they would have been well on their way to having a reasonable resolution to their sphere of influence problems at a fraction of the cost.
Instead they want to take in most of the Fall River Valley area, little Valley, and were looking at Cassel. Never mind the fact that they don’t have the money and are busy committing their customers to additional debt to fight battles they had no reason to become involved with in the first place.
Van den Bergh, who is perfectly capable of writing grants could have written the grants that their consultant wrote at a fraction of the cost.
Instead he spends his time trying to grab at magic rings on the merry-go-round, wanting to involve the district in a hydro plant clear on the other side of the county, and fighting with LAFCO.
I heard Van den Bergh say that he runs the district, not the board and from what I’ve seen I believe it. I’m surprised they even have meetings.
The CSD is not a private corporation. The voters elect representatives to oversee the operation of the district, to account for its money and to supervise its manager. The manager is supposed to serve at the pleasure of the board. The board’s job is not let him do as he damned well pleases.
Yes, this district needs good management and Van den Bergh has some of the qualities needed. But his way of doing business leaves a lot to be desired and is not what the district needs.
There are two things that customers can do. First they can vote against the rate increase.
I firmly believe that an increase is needed, but when the board gives the manager an extra week’s vacation, drools at the idea of taking over a power plant that is 70 plus miles away and will require some management time and travel, incumbers the district for a loan to hire an attorney that is only needed because of the District’s egos and unwillingness to play by the rules, It is highly questionable as to whether the money is really needed to take care of the water and sewer end of the business. I can’t recommend voting for it.
I would also vote out anyone who has been on the board for longer than three months or anyone who has been on the board in the past.

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