Catherine Dearing was selected as the newest director of the Idyllwild Water District. At the Aug. 16 meeting, the board unanimously chose Dearing to replace former Director Vic Sirkin, who resigned last month.
Besides Dearing, Sue Nash submitted a letter of interest to the Board. After introducing the candidates, both were given an opportunity to make a statement.
In her introduction, Dearing said she has been an Idyllwild resident since 1976. This is her first foray in public sector, although she has served on a hospital board before.
Stories about the adequacy of California’s physical infrastructure and the Oroville Dam problems in particular have motivated her to seek a seat on the local water board.
“We are responsible for our community,” she said. Then related that after the last rate increase, a previous general manager had stated the funds were needed for new infrastructure.
“It never began and is not beginning,” she said. As a director she wants to ensure that the District’s infrastructure is in good condition and improved for the community.
Nash’s statement was briefer, “Here is another qualified candidate,” and she offered to answer any questions posed to her.
Director Geoffrey Caine asked questions of both candidates. In particular, he asked Dearing about her interest since he had not seen her attend previous board meetings.
While she described herself as “never too much of a meeting person,” she added that she followed the Board’s action closely through the newspaper. She repeated her conversation about good infrastructure with previous District management and stressed, “I am really into infrastructure and intend to make them work.”
Caine asked Nash if she could work with the current Board given her prior statements about its actions. In response, she explained that having been an attorney, one for a public body, she has had many instances of working with people — clients, co-counsel or judges — who had differing opinions.
“I respect the law,” she stated. “I want to follow procedural and substantive rules to get our job done.”
After time to contemplate the choice, Board President Dr. Charles “Chip” Schelly called for the question. Dearing was the Board’s choice. Her term will be until December 2019. In August 2019, she will have to stand for election for the remaining two years of this term.
After choosing Sirkin’s replacement on the Board, the directors had to choose a vice president, since Sirkin was the Board vice president when he resigned. Only Director Peter Szabadi was nominated and elected unanimously 4-0-1. He abstained from voting.