Indian Hills Water District board elects new officers

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Contentious meeting follows firing of water superintendent

By Deborah Swearingen

About 35 residents attended an Indian Hills Water District special meeting Friday night to learn why the board fired the water district’s superintendent, but the contentious meeting led to a shift in board officers and the board firing the district’s attorney.

The board has not hired a new superintendent, and tensions among board members were apparent at the meeting.

Carl Frank has been the part-time water superintendent for the district that serves about 400 homes and businesses. Frank was the board president, and when he stepped down, he was hired for the position.

He was fired at the board’s regular meeting on July 20 because board members were not pleased with his performance and worried about a lack of response to employee concerns.

While the decision was unanimous with a 4-0 vote, Nelson Goodreau, the board president at the time, was out of town and unable to attend.

Goodreau and Tom Young, the district’s counsel, question the validity and legality of the firing, while the remaining board members — Steve Hosie, Jon Brady, Jay Rosenfield and Angie Oliver-Reed — maintain that it was done lawfully.

At the beginning of Friday’s meeting, Rosenfeld made a motion to hold officer elections, which was seconded by Hosie.

“I’m in charge of this meeting, Steve,” Goodreau told Hosie.

“No, you’re not,” Hosie countered.

“This meeting could turn into a potential free for all. We want to avoid that. We don’t want to be here till the middle of the night having a shouting match,” Goodreau said.

“Bear in mind that we are all your neighbors here. We live in the community. We drink this water. We pay these taxes. We’re neighbors,” he later added.

When discussion continued to stray from the agenda, Goodreau grew frustrated and adjourned the meeting in a decision that incited boos and yells from the crowd. He left the meeting, despite requests from the attendees that he stay.

Young, the district’s legal counsel, and Frank also left the meeting.

After the remaining board members determined that the meeting had not actually been adjourned, they elected Brady board president and Hosie treasurer, and board members voted to fire Young from his position as the district’s counsel because they were not satisfied with the services he provided.

“We all appreciate having safe drinking water. Let’s just hope we can get past this and move forward,” Hosie said. “Our board wants to work together as a team and work for you, our taxpayers.”

At the meeting’s end, community members seemed positive about the future of the water district and pleased with the meeting’s outcome.

“I’m very grateful my husband and I heard about this meeting about an hour before the meeting was supposed to start tonight,” said Hilarie Byrnes. “This just has been such a wake-up call for me.

“I thank you all for your service, for being brave and bold, and stepping up and doing what really, to me, feels like the right thing. I’m grateful for the turnout of concerned citizens,” she told the crowd.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.