When former General Manager Darren Milner resigned the evening of Nov. 17, Idyllwild Water District (IWD) was without an acting general manager until a special meeting the evening before Thanksgiving held by the district’s directors. The board appointed Field Supervisor Mitch Freeman to fill the position until the district selects yet another general manager.     

“He [Freeman] was appointed by the board in open session following the special closed session meeting last Wednesday evening,” wrote Board President Dr. Charles Schelly. “His salary was increased $1,000 a month and he will be considered for the permanent position, if he is interested. He was given authority to start acting in the general manager capacity immediately following the board vote on Wednesday evening, Nov. 27.”

Freeman was hired by IWD Oct. 16 with the approval of his contract during the board’s regular meeting. He was hired the same meeting as Milner. Freeman started work for the district Nov. 1. Milner began Oct. 21.  

Milner served as general manager for a month. Milner was building morale within the district, setting goals for staff. 

The votes to hire Milner and Freeman were unanimous with present board members. Director Peter Szabadi was absent from the meeting.   

Milner was hired as the district’s general manager after his predecessor, Michael Creighton, was fired by the board in a Sept. 25 special meeting. Director Les Gin was absent for the meeting and Szabadi abstained from voting responding to the newspaper in an email as to why he abstained, “I would have preferred a longer transition period for new management personnel to take over the management of our district.” 

One can’t help but ask: Why is it so difficult for IWD to keep a general manager?

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