Directors of the Idyllwild Water District met Wednesday, Feb. 13, to discuss both short- and long-term goals for new General Manager Michael Creighton.
Each director offered his ideas for goals, and Creighton made some general comments and will provide a proposed plan at the Feb. 20 meeting.
Director David Hunt offered three short-term and three long-term goals. Director Steve Kunkle had a longer list. Vice President Peter Szabadi offered several ideas that addressed procedural issues. Director Les Gin was interested in responses to customer concerns.
In general, all of the suggestions fell into several different categories. All of the directors advocated repair and replacement of pipeline and expressed concern about ensuring the adequacy of the district’s distribution system.
Some mentioned specific segments. For example, Hunt and Kunkle identified the Village Center Drive project, which was on the capital improvement plan, and Kunkle also mentioned the pipeline in the Elk Lane neighborhood.
President Dr. Charles “Chip” Schelly said, “I’m not a proponent of which pipe, just pipe replacement. We haven’t done a lot since I’ve been here. We need to put more pipe in the ground.”
Another common goal was staff training. In particular, the board wants to be sure the water staff has the capability to install and replace pipeline, especially if more projects can be initiated. Also, cross training between the water and sewer programs was an important issue.
More community contact was another subject several directors thought should receive more attention. Hunt suggested a monthly newsletter and two other directors encouraged Creighton to schedule open meetings with customers.
The question of whether a field supervisor was still needed was discussed, too. Both Szabadi and Hunt felt Creighton should assess whether this position still needed to be filled.
Besides staff and community, directors also turned their focus to the water supply, besides the pipelines. For example, resources should be invested in finding more water sources. Besides rehabilitating existing wells, including the horizontal wells above Foster Lake, drilling new wells should be a priority, Kunkle stressed.
System security was another issue Szabadi wished would also be addressed. And Gin also referred to the need to be sure the fire hydrants are functioning and adequate.
Schelly also mentioned finishing two short-term projects, which were started this fall before former General Manger Jack Hoagland left. First is the weir on Lily Creek as it flows into Foster lake and, especially, the granulated activated carbon filter plant needed to remove organic carbon material from the water and reduce the production of disinfection byproducts.
After the directors completed their recommendations, Creighton said he would organize the suggestions and present a plan at the next meeting. As he has been reviewing and studying the district’s operations since he began last month, he might offer some more issues to the list.
As the meeting opened, the board held a moment of silence for former General Manager Terry Lyons who died last week.