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Voice: One reader's IID review and goals

January 05, 2001

The Imperial Irrigation District board was reorganized Dec. 5. Therefore, it is a good time to reflect as well as contemplate.

The Elks' motto is, "Write their faults in the sand, and chisel their virtues in stone." This report will try to honor that principle.

There is the form and substance of the truth. And the form shall be sought before the substance. It is said the "form suggests the substance" and "process suggests the outcomes." Therefore, this report will focus on the form of things, i.e.

l Meetings and hearings

l Organization of the entity

l Organization of the departments

The OMS goals include:

(1) Government shall be democratic (2) Government shall be "policy" and the "establishing, effecting and realizing of policy" oriented (3) Government shall be effective and efficient

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It suffices to say IID was not democratic in 2000 based on: (1) The secretary of the interior's consensus approach (2) The board's misuse of closed sessions (3) The board carrying on government at the study group level (study groups are not open to the public) (4) Government being carried on through the technical advisory group in conjunction with the study group (e.g. the pension plan proposal).

The year 2000 will be known as the year of "locker room" government. Conversely, what did get to the IID board in open session was heard in a democratic manner. And because the board has no rules, I compliment board President Maldonado for this.

IID staff has developed an effective agenda format. Its practice of introducing non-consent agenda items as information items and then hearing them as action items is good (IID is the best as well as worst of worlds).

The years 1999-2000 were years of ongoing organizational change at the entity level, including:

l The technical advisory group and its strategic planning and value-added approaches

l The executive officer

l The establishing of (1) chief finance officer/controller and (2) finance and accounting manager/treasurer

l The resource planning and management section

Certainly there is the need for power resource planning and plans (it is assumed the Calpine power only replaces part of the El Paso power). And there is the need for water-conservation plans and programs (e.g. U.S. Filter: "IID has no plans").

The Farm Bureau, based on the water budget and rates to balance the budget, is concerned about efficiency. An efficiency study is being pursued. The executive officer has been proposed as project director and Price/Waterhouse has been proposed as lead planner (In the past, groups have played the project director if not planner roles; there has been no accountability; and the results have been poor).

In contemplating 2001, the goals include:

(1) Organizing and planning shall be recognized as projects (2) There shall be a project director and lead planner for those projects (3) The project information shall be submitted to the full board as an information item; there shall be public hearings on the planning and proposal information; and there shall be board hearings wherein the board takes action on the plans and proposals.

It is encouraging that Rudy Maldonado holds that information should be submitted to and heard by the full board.

In 2001-2002, it is given IID shall move closer and closer to becoming government for the people, as described in terms of being more democratic, policy-oriented, effective and efficient.

CLIFF HURLEY

El Centro

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