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TMCNet:  Modesto Irrigation District weighs interim leader

[January 09, 2013]

Modesto Irrigation District weighs interim leader

MODESTO, Jan 09, 2013 (The Modesto Bee - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Modesto Irrigation District leaders scheduled a special board meeting Thursday, when they might name an interim successor to former General Manager Allen Short.

The board on Tuesday privately interviewed a fifth and final internal candidate, none of whom has been identified, but held off a hiring discussion to accommodate board member Tom Van Groningen. He was absent because of a death in the family, board chairman Nick Blom said.

Short guided the water and power utility for 19 years before retiring Dec. 31. A permanent successor might be selected after next November's election, when up to three new board members could be seated.

Signs of change were apparent Tuesday in Blom's first full meeting at the gavel, as he led the audience in the pledge of allegiance, common at many other government gatherings but not at the MID. "Nice touch," said board member Paul Warda, smiling.

Board member Larry Byrd questioned staff about an ongoing deal with a graphics firm whose contract had been used as a cover to pay subcontracting consultants without some leaders' knowledge. That won't happen anymore, said Joy Warren, the district's regulatory administrator.

The board also reviewed a district requirement that customers own solar projects to receive rebates but took no action.

Oakdale, interested in leasing out property at its sewer plant for a solar project, has asked the MID to reconsider. Jesse Thompson, a zone manager for Siemens Corp., did not represent Oakdale but said other financially strapped cities can save 25 percent to 30 percent on energy costs by contracting with companies such as his.

Typical contracts provide guarantees for 20 years, Thompson said. Companies cover costs with investment tax credits, he said.

The MID board will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday in closed session at the district office, 1231 11th St., Modesto.

___ (c)2013 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at www.modbee.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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