February 2, 2018

CALL TO ORDER

The Board meeting of the Columbia Irrigation District was called to order by President Shawver at 1:00 pm.  Present at the meeting were:

Vincent Shawver, President Pat Loftus, Acting Manager
Neil Martin, Vice President Lila Freshment, Recorder
Dallas Ayde, Director  
Jim Gose, Director  
Sherri Thackham, Director  

Guests: Sheila Thackham

MANAGER RESIGNATION:

Manager Ellison presented his resignation letter to the Board and exited the meeting at 1:01 pm.  President Shawver read the resignation letter to the Board members.

PUBLIC COMMENT

None

CONSENT AGENDA

Minutes, January 5 and 26, 2018
The minutes of January 5th and 26th were presented to the Board for approval.  Director Thackham noted that the RCW relating to the Oath of Office in the minutes of January 5th should be corrected from 5.28 to 5.28.010.

President Shawver requested a statement he made be included in the minutes of January 26th.  He stated the Board of Directors selects the Election Board by letting the Director running for election choose them, and if they are unable to do this then they will ask for help.   Shawver also called attention to page 2 of the December 26th minutes where Manager Ellison referred to a request he made in a previous meeting that any discussion about him take place in open meeting and asked the Board to review the RCW regarding Executive Sessions.  President Shawver noted that discussion of employee performance may be done in Executive Session.

Director Thackham motioned to approve the minutes of January 5th and 26th as amended.  It was seconded by Director Martin.  Motion approved.

January Vouchers

Voucher 01 Reimburse Revolving Fund $118,886.88
Voucher 02 Ray Poland & Sons $  47,423.99
    $166,310.87
     

The Board reviewed and discussed the January Vouchers.  Director Martin motioned to approve the Vouchers as submitted.  Director Gose seconded the motion.  Motion approved.

November Financial Statement
The December Financial Statement was reviewed and discussed by the Board.

OLD BUSINESS


Protecting Equipment
Operations Foreman, Pat Loftus told the Board that most of the time equipment is kept behind a locked gate on the canal.  There are times when equipment may be left at a patron’s home and they will watch it.  It was decided controls are adequate at this time, if the District remains conscientious about where the equipment is parked and avoids parking equipment in a high-risk area.

Work Orders by Division
Work Orders were reviewed and discussed.

Investigations
President Shawver contacted the Municipal Research and Service Center (MRSC) regarding the transfer of budgeted funds from the Road Widening Project to purchase the grader.  They responded that because our accounting system is Cash Basis and the Road Widening Project and grader are both considered assets the transfer was handled in an appropriate manner. Director Thackham added that if the Board were to proceed with an investigation it could be conducted by Enduris.  It was decided to table the issue until the next meeting to give Director Thackham the opportunity to speak to the representative from MRSC for further clarification.  President Shawver also asked MRSC to investigate whether elected officials are employees.  Per MRSC in directors’ rolls as public officials they are considered Part Time employees.

President Shawver also spoke with them regarding the issue of election conflict.  Per MRSC, unless there is a policy in place which prohibits a manager from recruiting candidates for election it is not an issue, unless it was done on company time.   RCW 42.17A.555 prohibits using public facilities to assist a candidate for election.  Director Thackham motioned that both investigations be tabled until the next meeting.  The motion was seconded by Director Gose.  Motion passed.

Director Thackham passed out copies of a job description for the CID District Manager.  President Shawver suggested each Board Member take it home and review it for discussion at the next meeting.

Board of Directors Policy
The Board continued its discussion of the draft Board of Directors Policy.  President Shawver stated that if a policy is approved, all new Board Members should review it.  Director Gose made a motion to table the discussion until more time can be devoted for its review.  Director Thackham seconded the motion.  Motion approved.

 

Attorney
President Shawver asked the Board to consider retaining Tom Cowan as the CID’s attorney since he is involved in ongoing legal matters for the District.  Shawver reminded the Board that Mr. Cowan’s contract will be ending in three weeks.  Office Manager, Lila Freshment, reported that the District had placed an ad in the Tri-City Herald in December soliciting statements of qualifications from attorneys as part of the annual professional services ads required by the RCW’s.  The District received two responses, one being Mr. Cowan and the other from Ogden Murphy Wallace, a non-local firm.  Director Thackham motioned to place a second ad requesting statements of qualifications followed by contacting known attorneys to make them aware of the ad.  The motion was seconded by Director Martin.  Directors Thackham, Gose and Martin voted to approve.  President Shawver voted against the motion and Director Ayde abstained.

NEW BUSINESS

Professional Services
Office Manager, Lila Freshment, presented the evaluations forms for the firms responding to the December ads for professional services to the Board for review and approval.

The District received one Statement of Qualification from current CPA, Tom Owen.  Director Thackham motioned to retain Tom Owen as the Districts Accountant.  Director Martin seconded the motion and it was approved.

The District received responses from the ad placed for the attorney from Tom Cowan, who is currently the attorney for CID, and Ogden Murphy Wallace.  The District received a notice of termination of his contract from Mr. Cowan on January 25, 2018.  Director Ayde motioned to reject both firms.  Director Thackham seconded the motion.  Motion passed.

There were three responses received for the Districts Engineering Firm.  The firms were J-U-B Engineers, Inc, RH2 Engineers and Pacific Engineering.  Director Martin motioned to retain J-U-B as our engineering firm.  Director Gose seconded the motion and it was approved.

KeyBank Signature Authority – Resolution #02-02-2018-1
Office Manager Freshment recommended Pat Loftus be added to the Key Bank Signature Card.  Director Thackham motioned to give Operations Manager, Pat Loftus, temporary check signing authority.  The motion was seconded by Director Ayde.  Motion approved.

Appointment of Acting Manager
Director Thackham made a motion to appoint Pat Loftus as Temporary Manager of the District until a permanent manager is hired, as well as continuing his current job duties.  The motion was seconded by Director Martin.  Motion approved.

Open Manager Position
Ads will be placed in the Tri-City Herald, The Yakima Herald and Spokesman’s Review and run for approximately two weeks including at least two Sunday ads.

Meeting with Department of Ecology
Acting Manager Loftus reported that former Manager Ellison and the District’s head Spray Applicator, Kevin Walters attended a meeting of irrigation districts with the Ecology National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit staff to discuss possible changes to the permit.  Kevin had the opportunity to speak with DOE representatives.  There may be a possibility that the DOE will be able to exempt CID from testing for chemicals at the end of the Main Canal which would save the District money on testing of water samples.

Operations Report
Operations staff finished cleaning out the concrete lined section of Lateral #2 from Haney Road to east of Finley Road.  A total of 1,400 cubic yards was removed.  This was an accumulation of two years due to the bad weather last year. Operations staff then moved to the Settling Basin and removed 2,270 cubic yards. The District sold the dirt for $10.00 per load to patrons who submitted a request. They started hauling county rock from Owens Pit on February 2nd to continue rehabilitation of the main canal which began a couple of years ago.

EXECUTIVE SESSION
President Shawver moved the meeting into Executive Session at 3:15 pm for a period of 15 minutes to discuss personnel issues.

President Shawver moved the meeting back into open session at 3:35 pm.  Shawver stated the Board authorized him to come in to the office once per week for a half day or a full day if needed and will be compensated at the board meeting rate for each day he comes in.  President Shawver will check with the office daily to address any concerns and keep informed of any issues that may arise.  He also stated he will contact WSWRA regarding the open manager position.  The Board will meet again on Friday, February 9, 2018 to discuss the open managers position.

RECESS
President Shawver recessed the meeting at 3:40 pm and will reconvene on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 1:00 pm.

 

COLUMBIA IRRIGATION DISTRICT BOARD MEETING

February 2, 2018 Adjourned to February 9, 2018

Vincent Shawver, President Gary Weatherly, JUB Engineers
Neil Martin, Vice President Pat Loftus, Acting Manager
Dallas Ayde, Director Lila Freshment, Recorder
Jim Gose, Director  
Sherri Thackham, Director  

President Shawver reconvened the meeting of Friday, February 2, 2018 on Friday, February 9, 2018, at 1:00 pm to assess the progress of hiring a new manager.

Director Thackham reported she had ordered new versions of Roberts Rules of Order for each member and motioned that she be reimbursed for the purchase totaling $84.25.  It was seconded by Director Martin and was approved.

Attorney
President Shawver informed the Board the District has received no response yet to the ad placed in the Tri-City Herald for an attorney and the District has several ongoing legal matters.  He asked what was considered the most pressing legal issue for the District at this time.  Acting Manager Loftus stated the Tapteal discharge pipe should be considered an emergency.  Water will be brought into the canal in 5½ weeks and this can’t be done until the discharge pipe is fixed.  Ray Poland & Sons was contacted and has submitted a quote on the repair.  Director Gose motioned to declare it an emergency and have Poland proceed with the repair.  Director Martin seconded the motion.  Motion approved.

Gary Weatherly suggested the District consult an attorney about what should be done to protect CID from liability stemming from making the repair. President Shawver read the letter from Attorney Cowan dated October 6, 2017.  The letter was sent to Barbara Johnson at Columbia Center Mall and the city attorneys for Richland and Kennewick.  It stated the District would not reinstall nor allow the reinstallation of the discharge pipe. Director Gose suggested that Gary Weatherly contact Cowan about what can be done to protect CID from liability.  Gary agreed to speak with him and will ask Cowan to contact Pat with his opinion.  Director Martin stated the District needs to keep a detailed record of expenses to be reimbursed later.

Open Managers Position
President Shawver said he contacted Tom Myrum from WSWRA about our open managers position.  Myram agreed to help CID get this information out to other districts.  He also indicated he would like to attend a board meeting to talk about WSWRA membership.

Shawver reported he spoke with Express Employment Services.  They charge 15 – 20 percent of the first years wages if we hired a manager through them.  The Board agreed on a salary range of $80,000.00 to $90,000.00 annually, depending on qualifications.  They also agreed to publish the ad for a period of 30 days.  The closing date for applications is March 7, 2018.  If we still have no viable candidates, then the employment service will be contacted.  Gary Weatherly suggested an ad be placed in the Idaho Statesman instead of Spokesman Review.  The Board agreed.

Gum Street Water Line
Gary explained what was going on with the Gum Street City Water Line issue. The City of Kennewick needed to install a pipe under the canal on the east side of Gum Street.  The City submitted drawings which were approved by the previous manager, in anticipation there was a concrete liner under the bridge that would extend and abut to the liner that we put over the crossing.  After further review it was discovered there was no liner.  Weatherly has reviewed and approved the addition of a cut off wall to the upstream end so that the flowing water can’t undermine the liner.

Additional Business
President Shawver stated that employee evaluations are due. Director Thackham motioned that employee evaluations be postponed for 6 months.   Director Gose seconded the motion.  All approved.

Shawver reported that he had been contacted by Jason McShane from KID.  He said KID Manager, Chuck Freeman could possibly be available to come in and look at how our operation and Board works.  McShane also expressed an interest in an agreement with CID to work together and share resources.

Acting Manager Loftus will contact Robert Blain at the County about cost related to GIS mapping, so it can be discussed at the March 2nd Board Meeting.  Gary Weatherly agreed to contact Attorney Cowan regarding what mapping is required for Aquavella.

President Shawver had spoken to a Department of Ecology representative at the WSWRA conference about the availability of grant money for CID use.  He said there isn’t at this time.  The only money available is for fish and water conservation.  Shawver will contact National Resource Conservation Service and the Bureau of Reclamation about funding opportunities for which the District may be eligible.  Weatherly cautioned it can be quite costly to apply and there is no guarantee it will be approved.

Acting Manager Loftus reported since beginning on February 2nd, the Operations Staff had hauled 1,460 yards of rock from Owens Pit for canal rehabilitation from between Gum Street and 36th.  Operations Staff will begin cleaning the canal soon, getting ready to bring in water on March 20, 2018.   A meeting will be scheduled with Benton County Clean Air Authority before burning starts.

Director Thackham handed out a copy of the Draft Board of Directors Policy with suggested changes included.   She asked the Board to review so it can be discussed at the next meeting if possible.  Director Thackham offered to put the job description for the manager into a policy format to hand out at the next meeting.  Shawver agreed.

Executive Session
President Shawver moved the meeting into Executive Session at 2:25 pm for 20 minutes to discuss temporary pay increases.

President Shawver moved the meeting back into Open Session at 2:45 pm.

Director Martin motioned to temporarily increase office staff wages by 10 percent and give Acting Manager Loftus a stipend of $225.00 per week until a new manager is hired. The motion was seconded by Director Ayde.  All approved.

President Shawver adjourned the meeting at 2:45 pm.