Thank you for forwarding your blog with the anonymous email regarding FPUD to Barbara, she provided me a copy.
If I may I would like to set the record straight.
The author is either Director McPhee or one of his supporters who follows Director Mcphee’s misleading and incorrect ads in the Village News. By agreement with the Village News, “Opinions” from any of the FPUD Directors will not be accepted or published. The Village News will accept paid advertisements; and Director McPhee often chooses to advertise his incorrect and misleading, speculative opinion.
I don’t know where the dollar amount regarding transportation originates but the total cost quoted sounds like the cost of operating the entire FPUD fleet to me. The Board has discussed take-home vehicles in the past and determined that we would rather incur the expense than delay responding to an after hours emergency while an employee drives a personal vehicle to the FPUD yard and then drives to the emergency with the appropriate vehicle; after hours is up to 16 hours each day and week ends.
FPUD did contract with former General Manager Keith Lewenger for professional services in the areas of transitioning the new GM, continuing the negotiations with the Base (which were at a critical stage) and working on a project which would allow four of the north county water districts to share equipment and specialized staff and perhaps save money for all by reducing duplication. GM Brady controls Lewenger’s working hours and since February, Mr. Lewenger has billed $1308 of which FPUDS ¼ share was $327. (This was for work on the sharing project).
Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use
FPUD has rights to 1/3 of the water flowing down the Santa Margarita River (as documented in Federal Court). This is very complicated because there are lots of complex water rights that are prior to the court decision. But for the first time we have a “Letter of Understanding” with the Base re. water sharing (the FPUD share is an average of 3,100 acre feet per year), delivery ground rules, etc. which has been approved by USMC in Washington and the Department of Defense. Efforts are under way now to flesh-out the details so the project can proceed; probably a 200 page document that will take more than a year to get DOD approval.
SD Water Authority/MET Representation
While he was General Manager Mr. Lewenger, at the direction of the FPUD Board, consistently worked to keep both Metropolitan and San Diego County Water Authority, (our water wholesalers) water rates as low as possible. Unfortunately, on the San Diego County Water Authority Board, FPUD’s weighted vote is between 2% and 3 % of the total. Mr. Lewenger’s reputation and skill in working with the group provided us with much more representation than our small percentage would allow. The City of San Diego has more than half of the representation. By joining with Valley Center and Rainbow we have been successful in establishing an agricultural SD County water rate (which continues for the next two years) even though the Metropolitan interruptible agricultural surplus water program ends this year. (This is the Met. program that sold farmers cheap water for 17 years and then with the drought, contractually required a 30% reduction in agricultural water usage. The result was many of the Avocado trees were stumped or the groves abandoned). Likewise San Diego County Water authority is one of a number of water agencies (a number like 33) that belong to Met. Even with a no vote from the SD Water Authority, the rate increases passed; but the increases were less than Met’s staff proposed and Lewenger’s efforts to moderate the increases obviously helped. Los Angeles County is the major player on the Met Board. Mr. Lewenger currently works for the city of Carlsbad and is their representative to the San Diego County Water Authority and also represents The Authority on the Met Board.
Per Diem Payments
While he was General Manager Mr. Lewenger was receiving Per Diem for his Water Authority Service while being paid by FPUD. The Board explored the issue with the Water Authority. The Water Authority would not agree to reimburse FPUD rather than Lewenger for his service on the Water Authority Board and the only other alternative was to refuse the Per Diem. The Board determined that since the District benefited significantly from Lewenger’s involvement, and water rates would not be reduced by refusing the per diem, that the Board would allow Lewenger to receive the payments.
Breach of Fiduciary Duties
Since both MET and The Water Authority have Boards that are entirely made up of representatives from member agencies, I can’t see where any breach of fiduciary duties occurred.
Thank you for allowing me to set the facts straight.
Director Seat Number 1
Fallbrook Public Utility District