Pine Cove Water District General Manager Jerry Holldber recently sent a letter dated June 19 (republished by the TC in this issue) to his district’s customers disparaging the Town Crier’s coverage of his water district, claiming “many stories have been filled with misleading and incorrect information.” Well, then, I would think that if “many” TC stories about PCWD are “filled” with false information, it would be easy for Holldber to point out those inaccuracies. But he still has not identified any Town Crier information that is misleading or incorrect.

Is it that Holldber sends PCWD’s heating and air conditioning work out to his brother without offering it to any other such business on the Hill? No, that was accurately reported. Nothing prevents him from sending even minor HVAC work out to bid, or he could simply spread it around to some other Hill business without bidding, but he’s not doing either one.

Is it that PCWD Director Vicki Jakubac voted to disburse a payment to a company part-owned by her husband instead of recusing herself from that vote? No, that was accurately reported, too. 

Last week, we pointed out that both of these matters appear contrary to California Government Code Sections 87100 and 87103, as well as PCWD’s Board of Directors’ own “Resolution setting Conflict of Interest Policy,” which is posted on PCWD’s website’s “Transparency Portal” for all to read. Holldber implies that PCWD’s attorney Brad Neufeld advises that these matters are not conflicts of interests. Well, I have yet to receive a letter or call from Neufeld claiming there are no conflicts of interests in those actions. I’d be happy to talk with him about that.

Look, these things are not huge deals. Just stop doing them. Vicki Jakubac now recuses herself from voting on matters involving her husband’s company. That’s it. Done. See how easy?

And for some reason, Holldber allocates the cost of diesel fuel for operating PCWD’s tractors and dump truck into the category “transportation and travel,” which resulted in Town Crier Editor Melissa Diaz Hernandez reporting that she was investigating into why PCWD’s allocations in that category were 12 times those of Fern Valley Water District’s corresponding category. That’s factually accurate, too. If Holldber wants to lump his tractors’ diesel fuel in with travel costs, fine. But then don’t excoriate TC’s editor for naturally investigating into why his transportation and travel costs appear so high.

So, where is the inaccurate information Holldber claims? If there is any, identify it specifically. If a correction is warranted, we’ll publish one. Shoot at the messenger if you want, but as former PCWD Board President Dick McKee is quoted as admonishing: “The truth will prevail.” 

The Town Crier will carry on with its charge of monitoring our local public agencies for the benefit of all.