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Central Basin Water General Manager Kevin Hunt Accused of Fixing Election of Board Members

 

Central Basin GM Kevin Hunt.

Whistle-Blower Ex-Employee Files Injunction to Stop Election of Directors Allegedly “Hand-Picked” by Central Basin Water GM

 

By Brian Hews

 Hews Media Group-Community News has exclusively learned that a former Central Basin Municipal Water District (CB) employee has filed an injunction against his former employer effectively halting the election of three new director positions created by recent legislation.

Ron Beilke worked as Assistant to the General Manager until his release by CB in 2014. Beilke subsequently filed a wrongful termination whistle-blower lawsuit against CB and settled in October 2016 for $400,000.

AB 1794 (Garcia) was signed into law in September 2016 with the intent to reform the CB Board amid charges of mismanagement, corruption, and “Board dysfunction.”

AB 1794 directed  CB’s General Manager to notify the agencies water purveyors of a 60-day period that CB will accept nominations for appointment of individuals to the CB Board of Directors.

Water Purveyors are defined in the legislation as cities, & small and large pumpers.

After the appointment of the three additional directors, the CB Board would function with eight directors until reapportionment would reduce the number of Districts from 5 to 4.

The CB Board would then consist of seven directors; four elected by area residents and three appointed by water purveyors.

The seven member Board would become effective in November 2022.

 

 

CB General Manager Kevin Hunt had solicited candidates for the three new director positions and received nominations in late-January 2017.

HMG-CN has learned that only nine candidate names were submitted for the three director positions.

CB is scheduled to announce the director appointments on February 22nd, 2017 with new directors installed sometime in April 2017.

Beilke told HMG-CN, “I was very concerned that (CB General Manager) Kevin Hunt was rushing to appoint three directors that he had hand-picked in order seat directors who he controlled” Beilke stated. “These directors will be Hunt’s bosses, so if the GM is allowed to select his bosses, that is a clear conflict of interest.”

Beilke went on, “I spoke with several city councilmembers who told me that they were never briefed about the legislation, or were not allowed to submit a candidate because the process was not clearly advertised and was so rushed. They just didn’t have time to debate and vote for a candidate in open session.”

“I recently settled a whistle-blower lawsuit, so I know very well how the culture at Central Basin works” Beilke continued. “I want to emphasize that I fully support Assemblymember Garcia’s goal to reform the District. My concern is that the roll-out of the legislation is being bungled and the Legislature’s goal to reform the District will fail. The process to reform the Board needs to be properly handled in order to withstand challenge if we’re to have any hope of reversing the mismanagement and dysfunction at Central Basin.”

CB Board President Phil Hawkins commented “I was very concerned that the GM was rushing the process and was not keeping the Board apprised, and I informed the GM of that. I was afraid that constituents would complain and I was right.”

CB Board Director Art Chacon stated “I spoke to several of my cities and they had no idea that this election was even happening. In fact, they have not yet been informed of who the candidates are, or given any information of their qualifications. And we’re supposed to announce the winners in a week? It doesn’t make sense. We need to have an independent review of the legislation to make sure the process is fair and transparent.”

HMG-CN asked Hunt to comment, with Joseph Legaspi, CB’s Director of External Affairs  sending a “comment from the district.”

“Mr. Beilke’s unfortunate comments seek to undermine the integrity of an appointment process that is being conducted in an ethical and transparent manner. The District has met with our retail water agencies frequently to ensure that the appointment process and timelines were clear, understood and in accordance with the legislation. The selection of the appointees is to be voted upon by the retail water agencies, not hand-picked by the General Manager as Mr. Beilke’s inaccurate statement suggests. The District has worked tirelessly in partnership with our stakeholders to enact good government reforms that reflect our commitment to providing the highest levels of service to our constituents and moving Central Basin forward.”

 

 

 

 

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8 Responses to Central Basin Water General Manager Kevin Hunt Accused of Fixing Election of Board Members

  1. I'm Drowning Reply

    February 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Hunt will be ok. He’ll assume his position as Senior Advisor to Assemblywoman Cristina “Pass Me A Tampon” Garcia. How fitting that an idiot advises an idiot!

  2. Tom C. Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Who loses their seat in 2012? I understand the District’s will be redesigned according to population, but who decides who gets screwed and loses their seat? Should we assume Kevin Hunt or Cristina Garcia gets that honor?

    How did this bill get thru Legislative Counsel? For that reason alone a judge should grant an injunction. You can’t seat these 3 new directors because doing so will only result in a lawsuit/crisis down the road. Where’s the common sense people? Perhaps a consultant should have been hired to iron out the many challenges this legislation creates. You can’t let the General Manager make these decisions because naturally he’s going to massage the situation to protect himself….especially this crook (there I said it).

  3. Tampon Theresa Reply

    February 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

    I see many issues with the implementation of this Bill. To start, election of these three new directors should have been conducted by an independant source, not the by the people who’s job’s potentially depends on the outcome. This process described here smells like an inside job by the GM. Maybe this Bill should have been named appropriately “GM’s Job Security Act of 2017”?

    Why would Assembklywoman Garcia draft legislation that instead of solving Central Basin’s problems actually creates new ones? Is there even a provision for removing one of these directors if they turn out to be another James Roybal? From what I see the only way they can be removed is if their employer FIRES them?? I also do not agree with taking the choice out of people’s hands and placing it with special interests in the water community.

    I guess Garcia’s making it clear that she thinks the same voter’s that elected her are too stupid to elect their own water officials. Well now to think about it???

  4. Logic Please! Reply

    February 18, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Why would anyone believe that these three new directors would be any better than the elected ones? Seems to me these people would have more knowledge of vendors to cut deals with the fatten their wallets. There seems to be so many questions like do these people even have to live in the district? What happens if they get fired, retire or simply have their hands full with their real job duties? Will these seats become revolving doors? So basically these three employed water professionals just get the opportunity to make more money while serving on the Central Basin Board while still earning their regular paychecks? Sounds nice and just another example of a cushy job. How do we get rid of these people if they screw up, can they be recalled?

    This bill is a half baked idea at best. Seems like a problem is being solved by creating a new one?

  5. Pingback: District Daily Press - CSDA - California Special Districts Association

  6. Stinky Water Reply

    February 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    This law is absolutely dumb. These so-called water purveyors all have a conflict. Every city and every pumper will only care about the projects that benefit them and will be critical of those that don’t. This bill is all about self interest and is a perfect example of low hanging fruit for this no-name Assemblywoman to say she’s focused on something other than things she inserts in herself. This is all a waste of time.

  7. Gilbert Esquivel Sr. Reply

    February 17, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Stupid legislation created by a even more stupid Assembly woman. She should stick to tampons which is probably all she knows anything about. Creating a 8 member board until 2022 could result in five years of tie votes. So who casts the tie-breaker votes, the GM Hunt or maybe Christina Garcia?? Sorry, but that dumb broad brought this upon herself.

  8. Peace&Love Reply

    February 16, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Beilke’s “unfortunate comments” sound more like Central Basin was up to it’s old tricks again? Don’t mind this new legislation but don’t like FIXED elections either. I think the guy who’s job depends on these three new Directors needs to recuse himself from the selection process. No way Kevin Hunt should be recruiting his bosses.

    Wasn’t this guy Hunt the same guy who was part of Big Albert Robles’ crooked sh*t back in South Gate when all that money was ripped off. Think Cristina Garcia and Richard Lara should know who’s basket their placing all their eggs in. This dude is the wolf in the henhouse. Good job Beilke!

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