PUD begins plan for manager's retirement


August 6, 2020

After a quick report from the general manager, the Wahkiakum PUD Board of Commissioners received an update on the broadband project from their consultant and began a discussion about setting up a policy for succession following the general manager’s eventual retirement, which has not yet been formally announced. Finally, they adopted a resolution for an interlocal agreement with the Town of Cathlamet which supplies water to Puget Island.

“It has been brought to our attention several times that our manager is intending on retiring, and we need to start discussing a succession plan,” Commissioner Bob Jungers said.

The commissioners began generating questions as the first step in developing the policy, including where to advertise for the position, whether to hire a consultant, what kind of timeline to follow, if there should be overlap between the incoming and outgoing managers, who should be involved in reviewing resumes, the need for an updated job description, if there was any interest in-house, and more.

“I think we need to keep this as a discussion topic on the agenda moving forward,” Commissioner Dennis Reid said. “It’s going to take time and a lot of input.”

General Manager Dave Tramblie reported that Frank Mendez was no longer a groundman for the PUD but had been promoted to apprentice lineman.

“He’s beginning his 6,000 hours of training, in school and on the job,” Tramblie said. “It’s a positive move for the PUD and for Frank.

Tramblie also said that on Monday night, there was an alarm system notification reporting an issue from Western Wahkiakum Water System.

“The good news is the alarm system worked as it was supposed to,” Tramblie said. “The issue was taken care of in short order.”

He also said that a water and electric project on Fossil Creek Road had been completed, and the PUD would be starting a project on Hoikka Road, which was expected to take a couple weeks. They will be extending water in the area, and replacing PVC pipe with HDPE. They will also be replacing an old underground conductor system and putting in a two inch HDPE conduit for electric.

Auditor Erin Wilson said she had been working on the budgets for the coming year. In other news, she hoped to have equipment set up to hold their meetings online by the next PUD meeting.

Broadband consultant Steve Carson gave an update on the broadband project. They are working toward three funding sources, he said, and there was a meeting later that day with Noanet, who would be sharing their new draft of the project.

“[Noanet] had to carve out a third of the homes that we hoped to serve with the total amount, but by dropping it to 999 homes from 1,500 homes [they are] able to carve it from $10.3 million to $5 million. It tells you how difficult those 500 other homes will be. It doesn’t mean that we are not still planning to be able to serve those homes, it’s just that by eliminating those initially we can apply for and hopefully get the money to do that, as opposed to applying for a larger amount that we would not get,” Carson said.

As a last bit of business on Tuesday morning, commissioners adopted a resolution regarding the interlocal agreement between the Town of Cathlamet and the PUD to supply water to Puget Island. The resolution established the cost of production and the basic rate for 2021.


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