By Darrell Beck
As you may have been reading in the
, there are presently two Ramona Municipal Water District Board members who have essentially quit their elected posts as representatives of the ratepayers, leaving the board with a mere quorum of three members.
The two missing board members, however, have not officially vacated their seats, which can only be done if they resign outright. Therefore by holding onto their seats, while shirking their duty, they are doing a great disservice to the entire district and to their constituents who trusted them with their votes.
Director Kesinger, who represents approximately 7,000 people in Division 2 (Western Ramona including Highland Valley), has not picked up his agenda packets nor has he attended a board meeting in over a year. Director Schildhouse, who represents approximately 7,000 people in Division 3 (a major portion of San Diego Country Estates), has essentially resigned from all of his responsibilities and duties as a board member. He has turned in his mailbox key where the agenda packets are made available; has walked out of two meetings, stopped attending board meetings and has indicated he will only attend meetings that he considers important.
Both of these board members claim they and the working public are being hindered from attending or participating in meetings because the meetings are held at 2 pm instead of 7 p.m. However they are overlooking the fact that almost all governmental agencies such as Congress, State Legislatures, County Supervisors, city councils and municipalities meet during regular business hours with the expectation that most people probably prefer to attend meetings during daylight hours and not after working all day.
Being a RMWD Board member is a serious responsibility. Every meeting is important. Every board member must individually become aware of rules, regulations, purpose and policy.
Board members must be ready to spend considerable time studying reports and the issues to understand and make policy. Board members must be available to attend special meetings and ad-hoc meetings when necessary.
Members must make difficult decisions that quite often are perceived by the public and the press as being unfavorable or worse. Because of that they are criticized when things go wrong and get little praise when things go right.
Despite the fact that being a board member is a difficult job, I believe our form of self-government is far superior to the alternative.
Over the next 20 months RMWD will be occupied with four or five very significant projects, costing many millions of dollars. These projects include improvements to the Poway Pump Station, replacing the water supply lines on San Vicente Road, improvements to the Santa Maria Wastewater Treatment Plant and recycled water projects, and there are always unexpected incidents that may occur.
This is a critical time for RMWD and it would be a great benefit to the district and to the ratepayers to have a full board of directors to help make those decisions and share that responsibility.
It would therefore be in the best interest of the community and a benefit to their constituents that directors Kesinger and Schildhouse either do the job they were elected to do, or resign.
Darrell Beck, Ramona Municipal Water District Board president, represents Division 1 on the board.