Nonwater issues deferred to new water district board

 

At the last meeting for South County’s sitting directors
– 17-year veteran Rosemary Kamei and newcomer Cy Mann – the
Santa Clara Valley Water District moved to defer several decisions
to the new board of directors.
At the last meeting for South County’s sitting directors – 17-year veteran Rosemary Kamei and newcomer Cy Mann – the Santa Clara Valley Water District moved to defer several decisions to the new board of directors.

The new members – Don Gage, Brian Schmidt and Linda LeZotte – will review segments of the water district’s updated governance policies that would effectively make it impossible for any of the new directors to become chair of the board, adopt an extensive code of conduct and determine if the clerk of the board should no longer be appointed by the board of directors.

In October, Mann and Director Patrick Kwok advocated that no new member should serve as chair until he or she had served a full four-year term. Though at the board of director’s meeting Tuesday, both backtracked, asking that the item be left to the new board to discuss.

“If it’s not broke, I don’t know why we need to fix it,” Mann said at the meeting.

Also leaving the board is Director Larry Wilson, who along with Director Joe Judge, was adamant about letting the new elects have a say on how the chair is selected. Kamei, too, voted in favor of moving the issue to the next board meeting in December.

Presently the chair position is rotated among members to serve a one-year term after first being on the board for at least two years, according to the board’s governance policy.

“I’m dumbfounded,” Judge said. “This is not good government. We’re stymieing change. I don’t agree with any of it. If it were up to me, I’d dump the whole thing right now.”

The chair conundrum was just one of several nonwater-related issues the board spent time discussing Tuesday.

A proposed “Board members’ code of conduct and enforcement” was also put off until the next meeting, though it did cause a stir on the dais over why the code was needed “right now,” Wilson questioned. Director Tony Estremera who along with the board’s chair Director Richard Santos worked on the code based on the county’s and other city’s codes, was taken aback by the comments.

“You’re attacking the characterization of this when we did this a long time ago,” Estremera said. “This isn’t a last-minute effort to get this through. It’s just coincidence (that) it’s November,” he said.

Nonetheless, whether the code of conduct is adopted will be discussed at the directors’ next meeting in December. The board of directors currently has a vague code of conduct, and the proposed code outlines consequences for behavior such as censure, sanctions and admonition; rules when talking with the press or public; and ensuring that “members will be properly prepared for board deliberation.”

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