Below is one portion of the Community Services District's "Candidates Night" meeting Thursday. Here are links to the other sections:
- Candidate introductions
- Question: What is the role of a CSD director and how much time are you willing to give?
- Question: How do you handle squeaky wheels?
- Question: Your top three issues?
- Audience questions
- Candidate closing statements
Bob Kjome: Marty, since you are hot, we're gonna go ahead and go back the other way around with question number one, which is what is your view of the role of a CSD director and how much of your time are you willing to devote?
Martin Pohll: Well, in my experience with other boards, I end up devoting quite a bit of time toward serving as a board member. So I don't think it would be impossible to spend 15 or 20 hours a month on the subject. The first part of your question was the role?
Bob Kjome: The role of a CSD director.
Martin Pohll: Yeah. So I suppose that one of the most important things is to listen to the community and get input from people and try to direct the policies of the CSD, not the minutia, but the policies of the CSD and try to get it more well organized, more responsive, and try to make our community better.
Bob Kjome: Okay, thank you. Any comments from the other candidates on that answer?
Gerald Pasek: One of the things you've got to recognize as a director is you get a tendency to maybe micromanage and stick your nose into what's happening operationally in the environment and you really can't do that. You hire a general manager and you hire ... he hires the rest of the employees and (it's their) responsibility to get the job done.
Bob Kjome: Further comments? Martin, you have an opportunity to respond to that or you get it or ...?
Martin Pohll: I'm good.
Bob Kjome: Okay, thank you. Jerry, you want to keep going?
Gerald Pasek: I kind of indicated that the role of a director is to, in essence, advise and consent to what the general manager, who is the leader of the organization, is attempting to do and achieve, but the directors also have to take the advice of the community and look forward to the future and define a plan B, financial or otherwise, to get some of the objectives that the community wants to achieve.
Sometimes the general managers get a little bit dictatorial and they have to then get put back on the track as to what their real job is ... is to respond to the community and their needs.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. Any comments on that answer from the candidates? This is a lot easier than a presidential debate, obviously. Okay, we'll move around along then to Tim Maybee.
Tim Maybee: Thank you. To me, it's leadership. We've seen over the past several years a lack of leadership at a lot of levels within CSD. We hired a general manager who was here for a very short time. When I say we, I mean the CSD board hired a Security chief that, in my humble opinion, as the RMA board member that was doing compliance, just did horrific things and the current Security chief is still trying to undo those things.
So, that leadership needs to be there. The expectations have to be set. With that, obviously goes to the general manager and his team, and how he supports that team to get things done. By that same token, getting the input of really what is the perception from the community is utmost important, because that's going to drive what is that perception, how are we doing things ... those types of things. As far as the time commitment, I'm all in. So, one could say it's a limited amount of time. But, as we all know and when I got to be player agent on little league board, I was told it was only a couple hours a month, but you do what the task needs to be to get done.
I agree with Jerry a hundred percent. We lay down the expectations you provide to leadership and then step out of the way and then listen to the feedback, see if it's working and if it's not then we tweak it and we keep moving. Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Comments from the other candidates on that answer? Jerry?
Gerald Pasek: Let me clarify, I think you indicated that the board hired a security chief. The board did not hire a security chief; the general manager locates and hires all employees in the district. The board does not even approve of that. They're informed as to who it is, but do not have any role in approval or disapproval of the hiring. If you don't like what's happening, you get rid of the general manager.
Bob Kjome: Would you like to rebut that?
Tim Maybee: Yeah. I guess you absolutely proved my point. That's a leadership issue, so we went through some general managers that were hired by the board, and a security chief was brought in. And I give Darlene utmost credit for her to terminate him while he was on probation, otherwise we know how local government is: We're Atlas Rocket. We won't work, we can't be fired.
So, the semantics are the general manager does it, but at the end of the day, the thing we can affect is at the ballot box to make those expectations clear. And that's my only point.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. All right, we'll move on to Mr. Jenco.
Randy Jenco: Well there's a lot of synonyms for leadership and oversight ... I would use the word "oversee" in two areas. One, is the job getting done, and secondly, is the job getting done efficiently. It seems to me that a CSD director's main priority should be to make sure that the taxpayers' money is being spent efficiently and correctly.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. Comments on that answer? I'm seeing none. We will move on to Morrison.
Morrison Graf: Well, as Jerry pointed out, the CSD is an organization that's really a business and that reports up to a head. And similar to a private business that has a board of directors, really the role of a board of director truly is oversight.
That's really the best word for it. Obviously, as a board member we're involved in helping to set direction and overall goals for the organization and recognize that there are ongoing operations, things of the technical nature that have rules and regulations and laws that have to be done, but there is also that oversight that being from the community, that we can give that oversight recognizing ... what are some of the needs that we're aware of in the community?
The people we talk to and know and meet that talk to us, there could very well be some areas where there has to be some manipulation, a little extra direction, a little view on things. There is also the financial oversight that goes through. For an organization that has $60 million in the infrastructure around this whole area, there's quite a bit of equipment and materials and things that are going on, the bidding process that Randy talked about.
Sometimes there are some options. Is it first cost or is it life cost or the assistance and so on? So that's the kind of oversight, and really advice. A lot of times it's really just the question of saying, "Hey are there other options?" ... exploring the options. There's not one solution. There's three, of the three, this is really the best and as the board we can agree this is the best, then the general manager has a clear direction and can then deal with his organization to achieve that and then we merely really check and see that is being achieved. Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Comments on that answer? Okay, we'll move on to Linda Butler. Question number one.
Linda Butler: Understanding the issues that we're currently facing in the district, I think, is extremely important. Gathering facts, examining the options and thinking creatively. We need to approach the community and the things that are expected of the district with an open mind. Basically, I also think that it's very important to listen to the residents and make sure they are being heard and to have transparency on issues.
Bob Kjome: I think we're getting off, a little bit on the how much of their time are you willing to commit to this. I forgot to have you guys answer that one. Let's just go back to Morrie. You've been here for four years, how much time do you spend on it?
Morrison Graf: I would say, in general, you don't want to micromanage what's going on. But every month, there's a two- to three-hour board meeting. Each of us is involved in two separate committees, it's usually about an hour or so for the committee. And but then there are initiatives and things from separate meetings and so on that happen. So, six to 10 hours a month is pretty typical. If there's some major goal that's trying to be achieved it might be more than that. But some else are a little less, some else are a little more. But it's probably about six to 10 hours a month.
Bob Kjome: Okay, just to clarify then, are you guys good with that? Randy and Linda? Six to ten hours or so.
Gerald Pasek: I think the six to 10 hours, absolutely. Six to 10 hours is a good one on every job; however, there are times when proposals like water treatment plant, et cetera, et cetera, comes sailing through where it could be significant amount of time if there isn't a reasonable executive summary in the front that you can just get the gist of the whole thing, because understanding the minutia is not what we're here for.
Bob Kjome: Thank you. We'll move on to Ron.
Ron Amarante: So, really the CSD director would like to listen to what their community wants and try and work out their problems. They also would like to stay close to the general manager and contact with the general manager and work with the board of directors also. I think that's important that we all work together and solve our problems that way and then as far as the time ... I'm retired. I got plenty of time except when I have my time with my grandkids, they live close by and I just don't want to interfere with that. So, thank you.