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Water agency looking for new director

Posted: January 24, 2013 8:15 a.m.
Updated: January 24, 2013 8:15 a.m.

The Valencia Water Company ­—­­­­ recently purchased in a controversial move by Santa Clarita Valley’s water wholesaler through a stock buy-out  — is looking for a new director.

On Wednesday night, the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s board of directors set out guidlelines for selecting a new director for the water retail outlet.

The board agreed to start accepting local applications for the job.

Board members will announce their search for an appropriate candidate using the local media.

After some discussion the board agreed that the candidate should be a registered voter living in the agency’s service area.

The candidate cannot be an employee of the agency or a relative of someone employed there, or of any of the four local water retailers.

An ad-hoc committee will pre-screen candidates and select up to eight finalists for the full board to interview.

The board will then interview the finalists and choose someone at its meeting on Feb. 13.

The position must be filled by March 8.

Selecting a director for the Valencia Water Company became a required course of business for the agency when it acquired the water retailer, formerly owned by  Newhall Land Development Inc.

A couple of days before Christmas, the agency acquired 100 percent of the water company’s outstanding stock.

The water company’s director who served under Newhall Land had to leave his job by noon on the first Monday after New Year’s Day, according to the agency’s rules and regulations under the Agency Act.

His successor must be elected at-large by agency voters at the next statewide general election held in even-numbered years which would be November 2014.

Until then, an interim director will sit-in to ensure the position is represented publicly, as required by law, until one is elected,

The agency’s controversial purchase continues to generate heated response from environmentalists, rate payers and — most recently — from the only other public water board in the Santa Clarita Valley.

A couple of weeks ago, officials with the Newhall County Water District publicly challenged the legality of the agency’s purchase.

The agency, according to a small NCWD delegation that visited editors at The Signal, is legally prohibited from operating the Valencia Water Company.

Agency General Manager Dan Masnada responded saying he refutes the claim.

Valencia Water, which was created by Newhall Land Development Inc. to provide water to its master-planned community of Valencia, has the lowest water rates in the Santa Clarita Valley and the lowest outstanding debt among all four local retail water districts.

Newhall County Water officials argue those rates are likely to go up.


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