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Voice: IID, under Horne, becoming more democratic

February 16, 2001

Andy Horne, as the incoming president of the Imperial Irrigation District board, eliminated the study groups and replaced them with board committees.

The board committees are open to the public while the study groups were not. Therefore, this was a positive step toward making IID government more democratic. These meetings are noticed on the bulletin board at the El Centro executive office 72 hours beforehand.

The professionalism of administration as well as the democratic process of the entity could be greatly enhanced if policies were established within the following policy-making process:

(1) The information to be heard is introduced at a regular board meeting as an information item.

(2) A public hearing or hearings and a written comment period.

(3) A staff summary of the comments and responses.

(4) The board hearing held within the regular board meeting, which includes board deliberation and action.

(The written summary of comments and responses is part of the board hearing information.)

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This process is based on planning being project-oriented, including (1) there being a project director and lead planner, and (2) there being a project description.

Existing government is practitioner- (generalist, manager) oriented. That should be no surprise since that is the type of public administration being taught in universities. Its "system" has been characterized as disjointed-incrementalism and muddling-through.

A university department head admitted almost 20 years ago that "practitioner government is a failure."

The public deserves better at (1) the university level, and (2) the entity level. The proposed policy-making process is like a sharp knife that cuts right to the nut of it.

CLIFF HURLEY

El Centro

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