Needs transparency in agency leadership

Letter, Monterey County Herald, June 14, 2012

I attended Tuesday's meeting of the water district board and was disturbed by the attitudes expressed by the general manager toward the protest votes, which conveyed, overwhelmingly, the negative view of ratepayers towards the imposition of a "user fee."

Transparency and the importance of listening carefully to constituents are key attributes in discharging one's duties as an agency head. Therefore a sincere effort to provide broad voter education and subsequent participation, ensuring each vote was counted and that voting be encouraged and facilitated, would be expected. Rather, the prevailing attitude was barely subverted contempt towards the protest vote resulting from authorization of a process designed to discourage citizen participation and thus undermine constituent will.

Notices requiring "opt-out" easily confused as junk mail, no safeguards to assure an accurate count and general laxity toward protecting the ballots have resulted in a fatally flawed process. What kind of board would support this scenario?

Absent a complete rejection of the user fee without a vote of residents, a board recall should be considered as the interests of ratepayers continue to be consistently ignored by a totally dysfunctional governmental entity.

Claude B. Hutchison Jr.

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