The theme of the Aug. 31 Shady Cove Water District meeting moved from Shakespearean to courtroom drama. Several issues were discussed, all with a decidedly legal bent.
There was the firing and potential hiring of attorneys: Mr. Kellington out, Mr. Franell possibly in. When discussing the hiring of Franell President Phillip Keith noted that for the time being Franell is “My personal attorney representing only me.” and does not at this time represent the board. Franell has done some work on board matters. The board moved to hire Franell on a temporary basis (through 12/31/09) if he will give them the discounted rate of $125.00 per hour or less (normally he charges $175.00 per hour) The motion passed 4/0 (Keith Smith was not present at the meeting).
The phone offered to the board isn’t working; as soon as it’s fixed the board will begin posting their phone number. Their address is still up in the air as well. Keith has looked further into leasing office space but the matter is tabled for now as the board still has no budget to deal with.
It is still uncertain when the new board will have access to the board’s bank account. They have established Premier West holds the account and have begun the process of obtaining authorization to take over the account – but there’s legal stuff involved – so it could be a while yet.
There was quite a bit of talk about money; the board still intends to return that $6.00 fee (and possibly other monies, discussed below), but that too is pending access to the board account. Also discussed were donations to the board. Board members do anticipate donations will be needed and noted they will be tax deductible. Mr. Hays stated he would like all future donations to go toward paying off only “current” board needs. Keith advised they would need to look into the legality (there’s that word again) of that. That topic too was tabled for the time being.
The matter of the resignation of former Manager Jim Collier was also discussed. The board wondered whether to accept his resignation or make a motion to terminate his employment. They opted for the motion which was passed 4/0. Keith advised he would send a letter notifying Collier, who was in attendance at the meeting and witnessed the vote, but legal guidelines will be followed.
The biggest legal matter at hand is the fact finding on the petition. The county has the verified petition and will mail it to Franell who will give it to Keith. There will be no lengthy extension on the deadline as previously hoped by the board and the fact finding will need to be concluded by Sept. 18, 2009.
To that end there will be a public hearing on Sept. 9 at 6:30 pm at the Edgewater Inn conference room to hear claims against the Water District from the public. Decisions will not be made regarding claims at that hearing. The hearing will either be continued or there will be a second hearing on Sept. 14 at 6:30 pm at the Upper Rogue Community Center. Decisions will be given at that time.
Franell wrote a list of “Rules of Public Hearing” which Keith read aloud. The rules will be handed out on the 9th – but of note folks will have two minutes to present their testimony and evidence of their claims. Those used to the customary three minutes allowed in City Council Public Hearings will have to work on their “speed speaking” skills.
Lastly the board set up a schedule for future regular meetings, they will be held the first Monday of the month at the Edgewater Inn – season tickets are not yet available.
By Christy Pitto
For the Independent