Just when you think that you have it all figured out, life has a way of surprising you. The Water Board conducted it’s monthly meeting last night and Jerry Springer would have been proud.
The Water Board meeting began in a pretty normal way except for the fact that there were about ten people in the audience which is unusual because normally there is no one. It wasn’t just me who saw the following unfold, I have witnesses!
It was business as usual, then everything started to fall apart when the Board began discussing the recent water breaks and the challenges that they caused. They harped on the fact that they have no inventory of parts to repair the leaks and more surprising, they have no tools. Now, I’m thinking this water system has been in operation since the early 80’s and has had their share of water breaks over time; so how did they repair those leaks? Two board members discussed what needed to be purchased and essentially blamed past management and boards for the shortages. Hold on. The current Board has been in charge of the water department for going on four years now, so any missing items and lack of parts happened on their watch.
By this time, dialogues got a bit heated and they settled on a plan to put together a list of parts needed and present the list at the next meeting in 30 days for approval. A critical issue must be pointed out here; there are still at least three leaks around town that they can’t fix because they have no parts. It seemed to the audience that this was an emergency situation and quicker action was required but that didn’t happen.
Words and tempers really escalated when the next agenda item came up…FINANCES. Dialogue surfaced that two of the three Board members emptied an investment account, in cash it appears, without the knowledge of the other Board member or the Office Manager. It seems that the Water Board Districts money was placed in another bank, no statements have been received and the Office Manager has no way to access the account. It was indicated that the accountant has the information. The conversation then got pretty ugly between the Board Chairman and another member. There was plenty of rudeness, indignation and insults thrown by the Board Chairman and the conversation disintegrated into very childish and unprofessional behavior by the Board Chairman.
It was stated publicly and supported by the third member; that the money was moved in an effort to keep the AZ Department of Revenue from zapping the account.(AZDR recently did this to collect sales tax. )
Apparently there are periods where these payments have not been made and rather than working with the department, the account got zapped. Amazingly, there seemed to be a public admission of attempting to evade taxes. He indicated that he would make sure that statements were sent to the Office Manager and they moved on.
The animosity continued into the next item on the agenda. The item asked for action to appoint two new members to the board to fill the vacancies that have existed for the better part of a year. This intent was to select two people from the slate of four to fill these positions. Seems pretty straight forward. The Chairman demanded to know who put that item on the agenda. The Board member that was responsible spoke up and explained that there might be times when she would not be able to attend a meeting and she did not want to be responsible for the Board not being able to conduct business because of not having a quorum. Many indignant words were thrown around when the Chairman looked up and said that maybe they haven’t been doing a very good job. He then stood up, declared that he was resigning and walked out of the building. Chaos ensued! He did not complete the meeting or adjourn it.
There were people in the room that still wanted some resolution on the issue but it was pointed out to the remaining two members that they could not continue because they no longer had a quorum.
Then another Board member stood up, declared this a thankless job (of course it is, it is a volunteer board) and said that he was out of there as well and left the building.
This action left the Board with only one member and no way to conduct any business. As you can imagine, there was much discussion by those who were left in the room.
The plan now is to have all four individuals who were running for the Board appointed and take action to solve some of the urgent problems and get fiscal operations back on track.
Stay tuned for more!