Now hiring: Water district seeks new director

Flood project trickles forward

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is accepting applications
for an open seat on its governing board of directors.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District is accepting applications for an open seat on its governing board of directors.

The seat will be declared vacant as of Jan. 13. It was formerly filled by Gilroy resident Sig Sanchez, who retired in Dec. 2009 following 29 years as an at-large South County representative on the agency’s board of directors.

State law allows the six remaining board members to appoint a new director, or call an election to fill the seat which must be filled within 60 days. A staff report to be presented at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled board meeting indicates the directors will make the appointment themselves.

Director Rosemary Kamei, who has served on the board since 1990, said she hopes the new seat can be filled by someone from South County to maintain the region’s representation on the board.

“I encourage people to apply from South County, because that would be tremendously valuable to our area,” Kamei said.

The only requirement to be seated on the water district’s board of directors is that an applicant be a qualified voter who resides in Santa Clara County, and remain so until the end of their service.

However, directors will consider each applicant’s background, skills and experience in public policy – particularly in the technical areas of water supply and flood protection.

“I think it would be great to have someone who has some knowledge of water issues, and some background on what we do because we’re very specific in what we do,” Kamei said, referring to the esoteric nature of the service provided by the water district.

She expects the open seat to generate significant interest, based on past mid-term appointments to the board. Kamei was initially appointed to the board in 1990, following the resignation of her successor, and she said about a score of applicants signed up.

Interested community members can apply for the job by informing the clerk of the board in writing no later than 4 p.m. Jan. 25. Applicants should submit a letter of interest including their name, address, occupation, summary of interest in the position, relevant qualifications and experience.

The job pays about $260 per day, up to 10 days per month. Directors are also eligible for health, vision, dental and life insurance benefits, and are reimbursed for mileage.

The clerk’s office is located at water district headquarters, at 5750 Almaden Expressway, San Jose.

The current directors will evaluate applications and begin interviewing candidates March 2. The seat will be filled by March 13. More information can be found at the water district’s web site, www.valleywater.org.

Sanchez’ unexpired term will end Dec. 3, and an election for the next four-year term on the seat will take place in November 2010. Whether or not the new board member will be eligible to run for a new term depends on electoral district lines that will be redrawn in the coming months.

In response to new state legislation changing the board’s structure last year, the county will be drawn into seven equal electoral districts for water district representation. Voters in each district will vote for their director. Currently, five of the directors are elected and two are appointed by the board of supervisors.

Roland Velasco, who serves on a citizens’ advisory committee to develop the new districts, reported little activity on the project so far. The committee’s first meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 19. Determining the new districts will last several weeks as the advisors research local, state and federal requirements.

“There will be some conversation regarding the objectives of the committee, perhaps some redistricting maps, and Census data. We’ll look at the data and make sure it meets the criteria set by the water board,” Velasco said.

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