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Should Mayor Woods appoint new water board?

Published: Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 11:34 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 11:35 a.m. CDT

In a special investigation report released in June, Creston Water Board was scolded by state auditors for allowing longtime General Manager Steve Green to receive $90,000 in improper and unsupported disbursements from Creston Water Works.

Green was terminated in late June after the release of the auditor’s report.

The water board is currently in the process of hiring a new general manager. For now, Steve Yarkosky will continue double duty as interim general manager and water plant manager at Creston Water Works.

But now, moving forward, the questions become should the water board be held accountable for its mistakes and will Creston Mayor Warren Woods re-appoint some or all of the water board members when their terms end.

“Re-appointments will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis,” Woods said. “Some of them may make the decision not to do another term. There have been indications of that already.

“But, we, as a community, have to remember we have a great water system and supply in Creston because of the foresight of many of the standing members on this board. Just look back to last summer during the drought when many communities had water shortages. Yet, we didn’t. Yes, there were mistakes made by this board, but they are learning from their mistakes, and I still believe because they went through this learning process, they are still the best members for that board.”

The current water board consists of Ken Sharp, Bill Stuart, Lee McNichols, Cathy Dryden, Valarie Allen and Yarkosky.

Dryden and Allen recently began serving and were not on the board when Green received $90,000 in improper and unsupported disbursements between July 2005 and November 2012.

Records show Stuart’s term will end Dec. 31, 2014. McNichols and Dryden have terms ending Dec. 31, 2016, and Allen and Sharp — who was reappointed last December — have terms ending Dec. 31, 2018.

Term length

The length of a term on the water board is six years. Woods admitted that is a long time for a member to serve on a board, but it was set up that way many years ago to create continuity among board members and allow them to plan long-term water projects that would benefit the Creston community.

City representative

Another question beckoning is, should a city councilperson serve as a representative on the water board and consistently attend water board meetings? Currently, there is no city council representative on the water board.

Woods said the reason for that is the city — in no way — supports Creston Water Works financially. Therefore, they have no input.

“We could easily put a representative on that board,” Woods said. “I don’t know for what good it would do. We would have no input. We would just be a listening person. But, we could bring it up to the city council. It’s not something that’s out of the possibility.”

Woods further explained Creston Water Board/Water Works is an arm of the city of Creston. The water board is a completely seperate board, and the only oversight the mayor and city council have is appointment of its members.

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