New El Dorado Irrigation District Division 5 Director Alan Day found his chair a little squeaky after he was sworn in Dec. 12 along with Directors George Osborne and Bill George.
At the public forum at the start of Monday’s meeting El Dorado Hills resident Paul Raveling criticized Day for having an “anti-EID website” and said Day’s “campaign arguments are hard to reconcile with the truth.”
“I look forward to working with all four of you gentlemen,” Day told his fellow board members. “I think we can find common ground. I don’t plan to come up here and blow things up. EID is a good organization. It has good people working for it. The folks down there (El Dorado Hills) are being (impacted) by the bills.”
Bill George, newly elected as board president, said, “We look forward to working with you.”
Director George Wheeldon, however, cautioned Day to “make sure you give out factual information.”
Wheeldon then proceeded to criticize Day’s statements in the Nov. 11 Bass Lake Bulletin, which were taken from Day’s campaign website, including “Less smoke and mirrors,” “a forensic audit” and “independent, outside, legal counsel to review questionable EID practices and alleged state law violations.”
“Have you read the latest audit?” Wheeldon asked, adding that it was only 2 months old. “Please read three years of evaluations of our legal counsel.”
Wheeldon added that the auditing firms are changed every three years.
“We used to have an outside counsel,” Osborne said. “We were getting billed for 25 hours in a day. It was a $2 million legal bill. This board determined that was not in the interest of the board. We have saved millions (by having a salaried in-house counsel).”
“He (Tom Cumpston) is one of the finest attorneys in the county,” Osborne added.
“I have the same concerns. We did not want the auditor to be too cozy with the administration,” said Director John Fraser. “We’ve recycled auditors. The auditors are well aware the board is looking over their shoulders.”
“I particularly take umbrage at the implied criticism of Cumpston. He is recognized statewide as one of the finest lawyers in the water business,” said Fraser.
“You (Day) seem to be a reasonable person,” Fraser added.
General Manager Jim Abercrombie said he wished he knew a good joke to lighten things up, but just welcomed Day to the board and said he was going to work to get Day some deep briefings on issues facing the district.