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GM Jesse Silva receives vote of confidence from majority of IID's board

March 14, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Sending a message that they support Imperial Irrigation District General Manager Jesse Silva, the majority of the district directors Tuesday gave Silva a vote of confidence.

By a 4-1 vote the board approved a motion by Director Stella Mendoza to give Silva a vote of confidence. The motion was seconded by Director Bruce Kuhn.

Director Rudy Maldonado, who had asked for an item related to the discipline, dismissal, release of an employee be placed on the agenda, cast the dissenting vote.

Maldonado said before the meeting that his goal was not to call for Silva's removal but to have the board re-evaluate Silva's role as a manager and the role of the board as the governing body.


Maldonado said he thinks the board needs to make changes in the way the district is managed and governed.

In calling for a vote of confidence, Mendoza said, "I felt we needed to send a message that we support the general manager."

Board President Andy Horne said that the agenda item became a public issue by being addressed in this newspaper fueled the board's action.

"We didn't want people to think there was any lack of confidence in Jesse," Horne said, adding the concern was that people in the Valley and outside the area would think the board had issues with Silva.

Horne added the majority of the board has confidence in the service Silva has provided since he was named general manager in March 1999.

Silva will face his annual evaluation during the board's next meeting. Horne said that is part of his regular evaluation as the district's top administrator.

Silva declined to comment other than to say the board's action speaks for itself. He said it is pleasing to receive a vote of confidence.

Maldonado said this morning he is concerned the board is too focused on its image and not on making sure customers are served justly.

"I'm just a messenger on behalf of my rate-payers," Maldonado said.

He added there has to be further review and evaluation of the "business culture" within the district.

He said of the board's vote of confidence in Silva: "Hooray for the democratic process. However, there still are issues that have to be dealt with."

Maldonado said at this time he cannot discuss specific issues he has with Silva's performance.

In other action related to the district's top administration, the board voted unanimously to reassign Executive Officer Brad Luckey and have him report to Silva rather than reporting directly to the board.

Horne said the move was taken to make the executive officer position "more effective."

A year ago the board created the executive officer position and made it a branch position apart from the general manager.

The executive officer was to deal with issues such as legislative matters outside the specific purview of the district.

Horne said that has not changed. Luckey, the first to serve in the position, still will work with agencies outside the Imperial Valley to protect the district's interests.

Luckey said he supports the change.

"I just think functionally it will work better rather than me out there by myself," he said.

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

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