Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

PUD commission continues discussion for manager's successor

With General Manager Dave Tramblie’s resignation on the table, the Wahkiakum County PUD Board of Commissioners wondered Tuesday whether they should limit candidates for a successor to strictly in-house or consider a broader search.

“I think this utility has done a good job of building good relationships with our community, and the people we have on staff have taken ownership and responsibility,” Tramblie said. “I think that moving forward, the most seamless transition would be to hire from within.”

The commissioners were unable to come to a consensus but will continue the discussion at the next meeting. They also plan to use this time to update the general manager’s job description.

Tramblie reported that the PUD had received one bid for pole testing and was anticipating a second one. He also said that the two hydrants requested by the Skamokawa Fire Department had been installed in Sleepy Hollow and on Steamboat Slough.

Auditor Erin Wilson said that the community responded after the Residential Energy Assistance Program (REAP) was addressed in the PUD newsletter, with just over $1,600 donated since the first of the year.

FEMA has promised $28,500 of the $38,000 that the PUD lost last January because of a storm, and Wilson hopes that the state legislature will cover the other $9,500, she said.

Before closing the public meeting for an executive session to discuss collective bargaining, the commissioners talked about how to disburse the $10,000 provided by Wahkiakum County to help struggling customers pay their utility bills.

“Through the efforts of several, including Commissioners Dennis Reid, we ended up with funds provided by the county, and those need to be disbursed through some scheme,” Commissioner Gene Healy said.

After a bit of research by Wilson, Tramblie said they had found some applications and processes used by six other utilities for disbursing CARES Act money that would make sense for them.

The PUD will draft their own applications, and Tramblie asked if they might present the final product to the board in a couple weeks.

“This may not be the last time we do this,” Healy said. “There may be some more funding that might come downhill, and we want a process that will work then.”

Tramblie agreed.

Commissioner Bob Junger wondered why they didn’t just use the REAP program to disburse the funds.

“The REAP program is more restrictive than we want to be for this,” Reid said. “Covid has affected more people that are not just at poverty level income. We want this to be a wider program.”


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