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Silva evaluation tops IID board agenda

March 13, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The role of the Imperial Irrigation District general manager will be examined in a closed-session discussion during tonight's IID Board of Directors meeting in La Quinta.

There are two items on the agenda related to General Manager Jesse Silva, IID's top administrator since March 1999.

One item calls for an annual performance evaluation. The other item related to Silva is listed as "discipline, dismissal or release of a public employee."

Director Rudy Maldonado said this morning that closed-session agenda item relates to Silva. Maldonado said he asked that the item be placed on the agenda.

However, he said his goal is to get his fellow board members to re-evaluate the role of general manager. Maldonado said he is not going to call for Silva's dismissal.

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Without speaking in detail, Maldonado said he thinks the board needs to make some changes in the way in which the district is managed and governed. He said the board needs to both evaluate its own role along with looking at the role of the general manager.

Silva declined to comment on the matter this morning.

Director Lloyd Allen said he is not prepared to re-evaluate the role of the general manager. He said he thinks Silva has provided necessary leadership.

Allen added IID is dealing with a number of critical issues and Silva and the board have to find a way to balance their time between all such issues.

Director Stella Mendoza agreed with Allen.

She said in the three months she has been on the board she thinks Silva had done an "excellent" job.

"I support him 100 percent," she said.

Board President Andy Horne said he was "dismayed" when Maldonado asked the item be placed on the agenda.

He said if the goal is to evaluate Silva, there was no need to put an item calling for the dismissal of an employee on the agenda.

Horne said he does not think Maldonado has the support of the board on that item.

"I don't think it is constructive to put an item on the agenda when there is no support for it," Horne said.

Maldonado responded, "Every director is entitled to their opinion and I'm entitled to mine. After much thought, I want to talk about this."

In other action expected tonight, Mendoza said she plans to make a motion that the board divide the costs of the district's information technology systems — all computer hardware and software — on a 76/24 breakdown, with the district's power side paying 76 percent of the cost for the technology and the water side paying 24 percent.

That is the split approved by the board for this year's budget.

However, during a recent board meeting, the board voted 3-2 to change that setup.

Director Bruce Kuhn called for the new division of costs. He said his intent was to have the split be 90/10, with power paying 90 percent.

However, his motion actually created a split in which power would pay more than 90 percent.

As a result, Kuhn asked that the issue be placed back on tonight's agenda so he could amend his motion to create a 90/10 split.

Mendoza said she thinks that split would place an unfair burden on the power department. She said the more fair split is to have power pay 76 percent.

Those in the farming community have argued the split Mendoza supports would force the water side to pay more than 10 percent for software known as SAP, which they say was purchased to benefit the power department.

IID staffers have argued the water and power departments both receive benefit from SAP.

The closed session of the meeting starts at 4 p.m. in IID's La Quinta headquarters. The public session starts at 5 p.m.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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