MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ALAMEDA COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT
April 20, 2016
The following were present:
ANGELA RAMIREZ HOLMES
DIRECTORS ABSENT: NONE
ZONE 7 STAFF:
JILL DUERIG, GENERAL MANAGER
KURT ARENDS, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, ENGINEERING
OSBORN SOLITEI, ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER, FINANCE
CAROL MAHONEY, MANAGER, INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES
SAL SEGURA, ASSOCIATE CIVIL ENGINEER, INTEGRATED PLANNING
ELKE RANK, ASSOCIATE WATER RESOURCES PLANNER,
MONA OLMSTED, ASSOCIATE ENGINEER, FACILITIES ENGINEERING
JEFF TANG, ASSOCIATE CIVIL ENGINEER, FLOOD CONTROL
LINDA VAN BUSKIRK, BOARD SECRETARY
COUNSEL: DAVID ALADJEM, DOWNEY BRAND
Item 2 - Open Session and Report Out of Closed Session
The Board came out of Closed Session at 7:00 p.m. and President Palmer said that no reportable actions had been taken in Closed Session.
Item 3 - CALL TO ORDER / PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
President Palmer called the regular meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
Item 4 - Pledge of Allegiance
President Palmer led in the Salute to the Flag.
Item 5 - CITIZENS FORUM
Item 6 - MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETINGS OF MARCH 16, 2016
Director Ramirez Holmes suggested that the location of where speakers live be struck from the minutes since the Brown Act says that members of the public cannot be required to register or complete a note card that gives their name or provides other information, and that it is not necessary or germane to the discussion.
David Aladjem, legal counsel, confirmed that the agency's speaker card states that the address is an "OPTIONAL" submission of information and that although it is not required under law, it is actually quite relevant to determine who is a constituent living in the district and who is not. The form is voluntary and it is up to the board to determine whether or not to include that information in the minutes. The general practice is when a speaker indicates their address on the form or at the podium, that information is usually noted in the minutes.
Director Greci noted that having the speakers' name and address serves as a good tool for the Board to be able to follow up with a response to any issues brought up during their opportunity to speak. Director Quigley agreed completely, stating that since it is voluntary and the speakers at the last meeting told us where they lived, it is appropriate to have them memorialized in the minutes.
Director Figuers suggested the form include a check box to give speakers the option of specifically affirming that their name and address be listed in the minutes.
Director Stevens concurred that it is important and useful information for the Board to know where the speakers are from and that the city should be listed in the minutes.
President Palmer stated that it was interesting seeing where all the speakers were from. In her opinion listing their city seems to be anonymous enough and gives the Board an idea of whether or not these are our constituents and what their concerns are.
Director Ramirez Holmes pointed out that these minutes were different than previous formats in that no board questions or staff responses were recorded and were therefore not complete. Director McGrail concurred with Director Ramirez Holmes that the minutes were devoid of Board conversations prior to making a vote, and although not fatal because it is recorded on television, he would like to see Board comments memorialized. President Palmer agreed that Board comments are important.
Director Stevens moved that the minutes be approved, and Director Quigley seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 6-1, with Director Ramirez Holmes voting no.
Item 7 - CONSENT CALENDAR
Director McGrail asked that Item 7(e) be pulled for discussion.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked that Item 7(a) be pulled for discussion.
Director Ramirez Holmes moved for approval of Consent Items 7(b), (c), (d), and (f). Director Quigley seconded the motion. The items were passed by a vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 16-123 Approved two unfunded positions of Junior/Assistant Engineer/Geologist, Zone 7 (Item 7b)
Resolution No. 16-124 Authorized the GM to execute an MOU to accept authority
provided by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (Item 7c)
Resolution No. 16-125 Authorized a Contract with Trihey to provide specialized
environmental analysis (Item 7d)
Resolution No. 16-126 Authorized staff to execute an extension to the water exchange with CCWD(Item 7f)
Item 7(a) Declaration of May as Water Awareness Month
In response to questions from Director Ramirez Holmes about the rebates offered, Carol Mahoney, Manager of Integrated Water Resources clarified that through Zone 7's Conservation Program, the agency continues to offer rebates for high-efficiency toilets (HET) and high-efficiency urinals (HEU), high-efficiency clothes washers (HEW), weather-based irrigation controllers, and water-efficient landscape (WEL) or turf replacement. For all programs, Proposition 84 Round 3 is funding both indoor and outdoor conservation programs for the period of January 2014 through December 2019. Zone 7 grant awards for all three rounds total $979,000. To date, grants have covered approximately 30% of rebate costs.
Director Ramirez Holmes stressed the importance of the agency increasing its outreach of the rebate opportunities that are available, especially when doing community presentations. She commended Ms. Mahoney for presenting a good report.
Director Ramirez Holmes moved for approval of Item 7(a), and Director Greci seconded the motion. The motion passed by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 16-127 Declared May as Water Awareness Month (Item 7a)
Item 7(e): Award of Contract to ICF International for Communication Support Services
Director McGrail asked to discuss why the agency needs a consultant for communications outreach at the tune of $105,000 per year, which seems an expensive route, when we have the staff that we have. He would like to see the money stay in our coffers and hire more staff to keep the tasks such as website and e-newsletter management in-house. Regarding the contract, he would like to see staff return to the Board after a one-year term to report on what kind of bang we got for the buck. After Board input, two additional one-year extensions could be considered. Ms. Duerig responded that Zone 7 is in need of communications support services to implement the Board recommendations along with the Communications and Outreach Strategy that was finalized in 2015. Getting the word out takes time and money. Staff alone will not be able to implement all of the outreach described therein. The agency will have that opportunity by bringing in a consultant with subject matter expertise in water issues and both print and electronic communications to enhance the community outreach program. Many of the agency's current contracts for this type of support will sunset on June 30, 2016. A three-year consultant commitment at $100,000 per year is much less than a career commitment by the time you add benefits and equivalent salary. Most of our employees stay a lot longer than three years. If the consultant does well, the contract can be extended, but if not, the contract can be terminated at any point in time.
Director Ramirez Holmes concurred with Director McGrail's suggestion of a one-year contract being reviewed at the Board level before extending another year out. She expressed concern that the agency is switching to a different firm after the Board members were interviewed last summer and a plan was then written by Fiona Hutton & Associates for staff implementation of some of those items. She expressed interest in knowing which contracts will be sunsetting.
Director Quigley stated that ICF is a reformulated Jones & Stokes, a very prestigious organization. As a long-time board member, he noted it is not uncommon for the agency to grant the GM and staff a three-year contract. Given the amount of outreach the agency does with the annual report, water reliability checks, report cards, etc., he is comfortable in going ahead with a three-year timeline with the understanding that the Board will get a chance to review and make an assessment.
President Palmer agreed that the three-year contract is common. She suggested adding the phrase "with approval by the Board each year" on the proposed resolution.
Director Stevens stated that Jones & Stokes (now ICF) has worked for Zone 7 before. He discussed the benefits of hiring a consultant, bringing on a number of different specialties and skillsets through many employees vs. agency staff - stating that you can't have one person do four different jobs.
This is a needed stop gap measure and much of this is driven from the requests of the board members saying they want more outreach and communication. The three-year contract is a standard practice that has been discussed many times before. He trusts the GM 100% to make the right choices regarding extending the consultant contract another year, and sees no reason why the Board needs to get involved on that point.
In response to Director Figuers' question whether Fiona Hutton & Associates worked for Zone 7 recently, Ms. Duerig responded yes. That firm put in a proposal for this project as well and it was very competitive. The four-person review team decided the better value was with ICF, which, as Director Stevens said, also worked for the agency in the past.
Director Greci stated that under the leadership of Zone 7's GM, decisions can be made if the work performed by a consultant is necessary and worth the money. The Board does not need to get into the bowels of its staff and what they are doing to make those kinds of decisions. He trusts staff fully to make the right decision. He disagrees that an evaluation of what the consultant did must come back to the Board, stating that is the job of the GM and staff.
President Palmer asked for public comment. There was none.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed her concern about whether or not the agency would be utilizing the top five issues that were identified in the communications work plan that was written by another consultant after much work and money was put into that. The board had already indicated their interest in being involved in communicating the issues and additional outreach by placing this as a high priority on the Strategic Work Plan. She thinks this should be a board level policy direction as opposed to just a staff decision.
Ms. Duerig clarified that the strategic planning priorities, including items in terms of communications, are brought back to the Board every summer, and that drives all of the agency's actions during the following year.
Director Quigley encouraged his fellow board members to review the staff report on this item which includes a summary and overview of ICF and the scope of work. There are several paragraphs on the work plan, kick-off meeting, Communications Work Plan, developing key messages, etc. It is all in there. He expressed confidence that these are good people directed by capable staff and Zone 7's GM with Board oversight. He is in support of this item.
Director Figuers moved for approval of the item, which was seconded by Director Greci. The motion carried by a roll call vote of 5-2, with Directors McGrail and Ramirez Holmes voting no.
Resolution No. 16-128 Authorized a contract for communication support services with ICF (Item 7e)
Item 8 - STAFFING UPDATE
Item 8(a) - Employee of the Month Recognition - Bill Sadler
General Manager Jill Duerig announced that the February Employee of the Month was Bill Sadler who was present in the audience. Bill is a Water Facilities Supervisor who oversees the wellfield operations and the Mocho Groundwater Demineralization Plant. He is credited with being a team player who gladly helps other departments with tasks and projects where his expertise is needed. Director Stevens thanked Bill for being in attendance at the meeting. The Board thanked and applauded Mr. Sadler for his accomplishments.
Item 8(b) - New Employee Introduction - Nzinga Arrington
Ms. Duerig introduced Nzinga Arrington. Nzinga joined Zone 7 as an Administrative Assistant working at the front reception area, greeting all visitors with a smile. She comes to Zone 7 from Alameda County having worked in the Probation Department, HR Services, the Assessor's Office, Social Services and Superior Court. She earned an Associate's Degree in Computer Business Administration from Heald College in Hayward. We are so glad she has decided to land at Zone 7. The Board welcomed and applauded Ms. Arrington.
Item 9 - 2016 ANNUAL REVIEW OF SUSTAINABLE WATER SUPPLY FOR ZONE 7 WATER AGENCY
General Manager, Jill Duerig, introduced Sal Segura, Associate Civil Engineer in Integrated Planning, to present a summary of the findings of the 2016 Annual Sustainability Report, a study of Zone 7's ability to meet projected deliveries over the next five years. The Annual Review of the Sustainable Water Supply Report includes an estimate of the current annual average water demand for Municipal and Industrial Water Supplies as well as a five-year projection based on the same information used to prepare the UWMP and CIP; a summary of available water supplies to Zone 7 at the beginning of the calendar year; a comparison of current water demands with the available water supplies; and a discussion of water conservation requirements and other long-term water supply programs needed to meet Zone 7 M&I water demands for a single dry water year and multiple dry years, as specified in the agency's UWMP. The report concluded that, at least from the water supply perspective, Zone 7 is in a very good position to fulfill its duty to its customers over the next five years.
President Palmer asked if there were any questions from the Board.
Director Quigley commended Mr. Segura on a very good, clear report which shows the agency will have enough water for the next five years, and we can say so. He also applauded Mr. Segura's report in Item 17e the Zone 7 Water Inventory which included the surface water outflow in acre feet. The report stated that watershed outflow was estimated at 18,500 AF in the first quarter compared to 5,600 AF in the previous quarter. This is a lot of water. Director Quigley strongly encouraged the agency to find ways to capture, divert and retain that water somehow to put it back to beneficial use.
President Palmer commented that while looking at a 100% capture concept it is important to keep in mind that some water that goes to the bay is not "lost" water, but is important environmental water.
Director Stevens also commended Mr. Segura on providing the good news.
Director Figuers agreed that this was a good report. He appreciated the diagrams on the lake levels and flow in Lake Del Valle. He discussed the figures on Table 2 of the staff report. In response to Director Figuer's question on the Table A amounts shown for years 2018 - 2020 of 50,000 AF, Ms. Duerig replied that those figures are taken from the DWR reliability report.
President Palmer asked if there were any further comments. None were offered. She thanked Mr. Segura for his presentation and report.
Item 10 - CONTRACT WITH MORRISON & ASSOCIATES, INC. FOR OUTREACH PROGRAM SUPPORT SERVICES
Ms. Duerig presented the staff report summarizing the contract with Morrison & Associates, Inc., for schools and outreach program support services. This item is presented to request a final one-year extension before the agency will begin another RFP process.
President Palmer asked if there were any comments from the Board.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed her support for this educational program, including the addition of the high school program, stating that it is a great tool for helping the agency educate the public - especially children - on the very complex issue of our water supply. She also appreciates that Morrison and Associates sent two of their folks to the Water 101 Workshop in Sacramento for additional training. The historical perspective gained there can be passed along to the students as well. President Palmer agreed that the schools program is one of the agency's most valuable investments we can make.
Director Greci complimented Morrison & Associates on the great job they have done. Having been a former teacher who interacts with many past colleagues, he receives a lot of positive feedback on Morrison & Associates' public outreach and education efforts. The work they do to help the community better understand the complicated issues of water is very much appreciated. For these reasons, he is definitely in favor of voting for an extension of their contract for another year.
Director Stevens appreciates that Morrison & Associates is unique in that he hires very intelligent, professional women to work on a part-time basis, as many of them are also raising a family at the same time.
Director Quigley added that he has watched and listened to their presentations at Granada High School and at the East Bay Regional Parks where they've sponsored wild flower and environmental stands to reach the public with information on why water is so valuable and important. He said that education is key and Morrison & Associates has been doing a great job for Zone 7.
Director McGrail agreed that Morrison & Associated has done a great job, and the high marks have been confirmed through his conversations with others. Director McGrail moved to approve the item.
President Palmer said as a point of order she must first ask for comments from the public.
Alfred Exner, Pleasanton, spoke on Fund 100 and Fund 120 as being cited on a number of spending proposals being presented to the Board for approval. He asked where the money is coming from and suggested that a presentation from Finance on where the agency stands financially, especially in regard to the reserves, be taken into context when the Board approves these items. President Palmer thanked Mr. Exner for his input. Director Ramirez Holmes pointed out that when it says funding is available it means that it has been budgeted and in an approved budget. She advised Mr. Exner that the Board would be conducting a Special Meeting on the finances on the following Wednesday, April 27th which may also serve to answer his questions. Mr. Exner responded that the fact that something is in the budget is really immaterial because the agency has said it is operating from reserves. He urged the Board to conserve money and not to commit to any discretionary spending that can be avoided. President Palmer commented that the agency is audited annually and has passed with flying colors.
Director McGrail moved to approve Item 10, and Director Quigley seconded the motion. The item was passed by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 16-129 Authorized a contract with Morrison & Associates, Inc. to provide
professional services for outreach program support
Item 11 - ESA CONTRACT FOR AS-NEEDED ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE & PLANNING SERVICES
General Manager, Jill Duerig, introduced Elke Rank, Associate Water Resources Planner in Integrated Planning, to present the staff report summarizing the ongoing need for environmental compliance and planning support services to meet California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and regulatory requirements. The existing contract is with a consulting firm called ESA who provides as-needed environmental compliance and environmental planning services for Zone 7.
Ms. Ranke advised the Board that the agency is responsible to comply with various environmental rules and regulations. That can be anything from preparing a CEQA document to securing permits from California Department Fish and Game or the Army Corp or the Regional Water Board. This could be for special status species or just near a creek or in a creek. From time to time special studies are needed such as a botanical study, a red-legged frog study, a geomorphic study, or something like that for a specific purpose. The agency tries to do as much as we can in-house, but there are times when projects collide or there is simply too much going on and staff need additional support. The specialized expertise from ESA's staff such as biologists, engineers and culture resources experts is particularly helpful.
The current 3-year contract with ESA is in year 3 now. In year one, only $129,450 was expended. In year two, $126,840 was expended. Estimates for the current year (year three) are as much as $385,000, which would still be within the approved not-to-exceed amount of $645,000, but exceeds the projected annual total of $215,000. The reason why the third year estimate is more than previous years is due to the increased amount of significant bank repairs needed plus the need for the full gambit of permits and environmental compliance to go out and repair those banks this summer.
Director Stevens thinks it is ridiculous that the agency has to get permits on a finished canal on a natural stream bed. He suggested lining the channel with concrete.
Director Figuers noted that using the term "damage" implies that it has to be repaired. What we need to do is call it "Mother Nature is restoring it to original conditions" and let it go.
Director Quigley agreed with Director Stevens that these conveyance structures are altered by man, and although we know we must abide by Fish and Game's rules, the permitting fees should be barked at.
In response to Director Ramirez-Holmes' question about various funding sources mostly coming out of the Flood Control budget, Ms. Ranke explained that that is what the agency is expecting from now until the end of the contract due to the bank repairs to be done this summer. To complicate matters, a red-legged frog was found on one of the channels which unfortunately creates even more expense. As a result, the agency will need some monitoring services and things like that in order to get through that bank repair. So those are things that we know about our flood control. This contract was written so that it is not pre-allocated to any exact section; so depending on the need, it could be a Flood Control issue, it could be Facilities Engineering.
In response to Director Ramirez-Holmes' question regarding Table 1 in the staff report showing the "Excellence in Engineering Award Entry" for $2000, Ms. Rank explained that was for the Arroyo Mocho Stanley Reach channel enhancement project that was done in 2013. The cost was shared 50/50 with ESA. Ms. Duerig added the agency chose to apply for that award as an outreach effort. The good work being done by Zone 7 can then be highlighted via plaques, announcements, and e-newsletters. Getting outside recognition for our accomplishments and good reputation is worth it.
President Palmer added that this type of award may actually help Zone 7 get other grants in the future because of that particular recognition.
Director Stevens moved for approval of the item, which was seconded by Director Quigley. The motion carried by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 16-130 Authorized a contract amendment with ESA for environmental
compliance and planning support services
Item 12 - AWARD OF CONTRACT FOR THE PPWTP NEW MEDIA FILTERS AND CLEARWELL PROJECT
Ms. Duerig introduced Mona Olmsted, Associate Engineer in Facilities Engineering, to provide an overview of the new media filters and clearwell project. The project consists of planning, design, and construction of a new 12 million gallon per day (MGD) conventional media filtration system, 5 million gallon (MG) operational capacity treated water storage reservoir, and associated ancillary facilities at the Patterson Pass Water Treatment Plant.
In response to questions by Director Figuers about replacement filtration media, Ms. Olmsted responded that retrofitting the plant would be very costly as fittings and the chemical feeding systems would be different. The current filtration media are proprietary cellulose acetate membranes. A discussion ensued regarding other water districts retrofitting a conventional plant with U.F. membranes. The entire plant had to be mothballed due to so much breakage. Consensus was that conventional "tried and true" is the way to go.
Director Ramirez Holmes asked about the expansion in the CIP timeframe and its relationship to the Altamont. Staff clarified that the Patterson Pass expansion capacity is in the CIP. It is no longer called the Altamont, but is called the Patterson Pass expansion. In 2015, Zone 7 staff completed the PPWTP Expansion Feasibility Report, which builds upon the 2009 Peer Review of the Altamont Water Treatment Plant Site and Treatment Process Report prepared by Water Quality & Treatment Solutions, Inc. (WQTS). The 2015 report concludes that expansion at the PPWTP site with conventional multi-media filtration treatment is the preferred alternative for meeting treated surface water production needs (along with production from the Del Valle Water Treatment Plant, DVWTP) through buildout of Zone 7's service area.
President Palmer asked for comments from the public. No comments were received.
Director Quigley spoke about the current site configuration and the 10-acre parcel to be used for an expanded clearwell.
Director Stevens moved for approval of the item, which was seconded by Director Quigley. The motion carried by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 16-131 Authorized execution of a contract with ESA for the PPWTP
new media filters and clearwell project
Item 13 - CONTRACT FOR SUPPORT SERVICES FOR STREAMS MANAGEMENT MASTER PLAN UPDATE AND STORMWATER RESOURCE PLAN
Ms. Duerig introduced Jeff Tang, Associate Civil Engineer in Flood Control, who presented the staff report and background on the need for a contract for engineering and support services for the Stream Management Master Plan Update and Stormwater Resources Plan.
In response to Director McGrail's questions on the contractor, price and timing, Mr. Tang responded that the one proposal Zone 7 received in response to its advertised Request for Proposals came in from ESA in an amount not-to-exceed $517,000. This is the same company discussed in Item 11 above, who will be performing environmental compliance and planning support services under a separate contract. ESA will have approximately 15 staff members focusing on the Stream Management Master Plan Update. Since it is Zone 7's intent to seek grant funding for existing and proposed SMMP projects, much of the information required from the checklist will be developed by the support services necessary to complete the SMMP Update. The interim SWRP checklist and supporting documents are due on July 8, 2016 with the grant application. The Final SWRP is currently scheduled to be due in January 2017.
In response to Director Figuers' questions regarding state funding contributed to by a bond, Staff responded that the agency cannot apply for any funding after January 1, 2014, Prop 1 or any future bonds, without a Storm Water Resources Plan. The SWRP will satisfy the needs for any grant applications, but the agency must complete the Stream Management Master Plan regardless for its own flood capital project planning. In addition, Zone 7 had a lengthy discussion with the local cities as to the correct level for a developmental impact fee. In order to accomplish that, the agency would come up with a watershed-wide model which has never been done before - only small chunks of it had been modeled previously. Alameda County Public Works offered Zone 7 some extra hydrologic data to be incorporated in redoing the models. By taking that valuable data and upgrading the model to include it, reducing the footprint of potential flooding in a 100 year storm, it will serve to accomplish several things. First of all, as Staff indicated, it can reduce the number of projects, but second of all it also reduces the flood insurance needed by residents, and the cities are happier if it's that way too. There are many other factors here other than just a grant application. As long as the agency is updating its SMMP update, it is efficient to make sure that the update also satisfies the requirements for the grant application.
Director Quigley thanked Mr. Tang for the presentation. Having been very involved in SMMP for several years before becoming a Zone 7 board member, he agrees that the SMMP is a restatement of the long term Zone 7 flood program, and the agencies' promise to the cities to revisit is due. He expressed excitement that part of the program is to file a grant for Madeiros Parkway and possibly others. He encouraged staff to meet the July deadline to satisfy the Proposition 1 Storm Water Grant Program Guidelines for SMMP-type projects.
Ramirez-Holmes expressed concern about the expenses incurred on this proposed contract for the plan update. She asked if there is a possibility of delaying the work until the agency has more staff on board, assuming that staff would be less expensive than the cost of hiring a consultant. Ms. Duerig responded that even with this expenditure and the additional staff to manage it, the agency is well under what is in the CIP for these years. Hiring additional staff will take nine months or more. The project is close to finishing, the work needs to be done and it is needed relatively soon.
Director Stevens talked about the need to update the drainage fees and to incorporate the new flood data as a driving force to get the SMMP Update and Stormwater Resource Plan done. He stressed the importance of taking care of our constituents by creating a more accurate model, which hopefully will save people some headaches along the floodline areas. The Stormwater Resource Plan is a checklist for the state. If the agency wants grant funding, the standards must be met. We need to do this.
Director Quigley added that the 18,500 acre feet of watershed outflow mentioned earlier is storm outflow. Part of the SMMP program will be to figure out how to capture and retain some of that as new water for us.
President Palmer asked for comments from the public. No comments were received.
Director Stevens moved for approval of the item, which was seconded by Director Quigley. The motion carried by a roll call vote of 7-0.
Resolution No. 16-132 Authorized execution of a contract with ESA for support services
for the Streams Management Master Plan Update and Stormwater
Item 14 - COMMITTEES
President Palmer spoke on the Liaison Committee Meeting held on April 11, 2016 between Zone 7, East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD), and the Tri-Valley Conservancy (TVC). The committee meeting was attended by three of the Zone 7 board members. The agencies discussed opportunities for expanding the trail system to connect regional trails with a trail running through the former Patterson Ranch (i.e., Zone 7's Lake Del Valle Property) via existing ranch roads. These efforts will require partnership among the various parties. The meeting notes are pending.
Director Quigley concurred.
Item 15 - REPORTS-DIRECTORS
Verbal comments by President
Written report by Director Quigley
President Palmer reported further on the Liaison Committee Meeting of April 11th regarding establishing hiking trails in the region crossing over the former Patterson Ranch (Zone 7 property), saying that EBRPD and LARPD will take the lead in beginning this project based on their project priorities, and that Zone 7 remains ready to pursue this more at that time.
Director McGrail expressed dismay that after its March 16, 2016 meeting when the Board voted to delay any type of action on the California WaterFix, Zone 7's General Manager, Jill Duerig, authored an editorial published in the Independent. His conclusion was that the article is a selling point to support the California WaterFix. He questioned what authority the General Manager has to write letters to the editor which contradicts what the Board has voted on, and what steps need to occur so that requesting letters of support from other organizations does not occur again. Director McGrail stated his opposition to the tunnels and his opposition to the GM's letter to the editor of the Independent and the act of lobbying various valley organizations to write letters in support of the tunnels.
Director Stevens stated he read the letter to the editor and thought it was great. An editorial is an opinion. He applauded the Independent for publishing a different viewpoint than its own. He advised the board that if they don't like the action taken by the GM, they could fire her; but that he would strongly oppose that action.
President Palmer asked for guidance from legal counsel on the discussion. David Aladjem, Legal Counsel, addressed questions posed by Director McGrail, stating that the Board has given, through a number of past actions, direction and support for the California Water Action Plan, which includes the California WaterFix Project. At its March 16, 2016 meeting, the Board voted to postpone consideration of a resolution that would have formally supported the California WaterFix project until the September/October 2016 timeframe. That was a postponement of action as opposed to taking a position. That action did not change the position for support of the California Water Action Plan. Mr. Aladjem added that the Board may come back and consider that position in the future, but it was consistent with board direction given in the past.
President Palmer recalled that the Board was postponing a decision until it could review the entire environmental report. It was not a decision on whether to support or not at that particular point in time.
Director McGrail reiterated that he respectfully yet completely disagreed because the Board did not take a position, and the GM's letter to the editor clearly takes a position of support for the tunnels.
Director Quigley respectfully disagreed with his colleague, Director McGrail, and agrees with Director Stevens. He complimented Ms. Duerig on the letter to the editor. He shared his stance of support for the California WaterFix at the March meeting and maintains that view now.
Director Ramirez Holmes expressed concern that although the Board supported the California Water Action Plan in the past, the California WaterFix was not specifically included in that. The reason the Board postponed an action last month on the item was that it must have complete information on the DeltaFix before taking a stance on a tunnel project. She expressed disappointment that the GM elicited a response to the editor without having that discussion with the Board which could help them respond to questions from the public regarding the issue of support.
Director Stevens stated that this board is on record in support of the BDCP and has funded the engineering.
President Palmer said she thought the GM was simply answering some of the issues raised in the prior editorial that was published the week before. She noted the disapproval of Directors McGrail and Ramirez Holmes.
In response to Director Ramirez Holmes question, Ms. Duerig clarified that as recently as June 2014, but prior to Director McGrail joining the Board, the Board passed a unanimous resolution supporting the California Water Action Plan, a key component of that being the BDCP which specifically talked about two 40-foot tunnels that would deliver 9,000 CFS. That project has not significantly changed. Therefore, in terms of policy, there is a resolution that has not been rescinded, that is in support of the two tunnels. That is the existing direction that Staff has from the Board.
Director Ramirez Holmes attended the March 23rd Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce Community Service Awards, which was a very moving event honoring some folks in the community doing some really important work. On March 24th she attended the Alameda County Chapter of CSDA's annual dinner. Congressman Swallwell was the keynote speaker. On April 20th she attended the State of the City Address in Dublin, where Dublin touted its recycled water leadership as well as 164,000,000 gallons of potable water saved in 2015. Water is still on everybody's mind and remains a hot topic.
Item 16 - ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDA - DIRECTORS
Director Ramirez Holmes wants to review Zone 7's policy on public records requests and public records action to make sure it is in line with what we still believe, and to make sure she understands how the process works in terms of someone asking for public records and what the agency's response is as well as how we determine fees.
Director McGrail asked if the Patterson Ranch lease has been executed, to which Ms. Duerig responded yes.
Item 17 - STAFF REPORTS (Information items. No action will be taken.)
General Manager's Report
Zone 7 Water Inventory (March 2016)
Flood Protection Program 2015 Annual Report
Ms. Duerig said there were no verbal reports, but that Zone 7 is always excited to share the Flood Protection Program Annual Report, a summary of what the agency has done with the money over the last year, and that report is included in this month's agenda package as Item 17f.
President Palmer pointed out the upcoming board schedule.
Item 18 - ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 p.m.