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Double-Speak by HDWD GM Muzik Will Sink Sewer Assessment Vote

 

Original Title: HDWD GM Muzik Speaking Out Both Sides of his Mouth (Aug.3,2014)

 

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By Margo Sturges/Yucca Valley, Ca.,- At the Tuesday sewer outreach meeting held on July 29, 2014, at the Hi-Desert Water District office, there were 12 or so attendees which included Yucca Valley Deputy Town Manager, Shane Stueckle. The canned presentation has become boring after hearing the same presentation by someone that is sooo bored to be presenting it for the what…36th time?

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There have been twists and turns and changes along the way which is costing more money to reprint and change the video presentation. The local media has really struck gold during this outreach campaign. The inexperienced PIO, Public Information Officer, does not know what she is doing, blindly ordering expensive half-page color ads and live remote radio advertising to “get the word out.”

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This sweet lil’ darling is way in over her head. Somehow she floated to the top eliminating two experienced PIO’s that applied for this position but were never called for an interview. Everyone seems to be “learning on the job” instead of hiring someone with experience resulting in a great waste of public funds.

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Director Sarann Graham was in attendance at the beginning of the outreach meeting but then promptly left after Director Bob Stadum showed up. He mentioned he was going to attend the morning meeting but then President Roger Mayes showed up so he left.

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All of this “musical chairs” has to do with the $125.00 per meeting that each Director will be paid to attend, up to a maximum of 10 meetings per month. This is in addition to receiving medical/dental/vision and meals/mileage/hotels to attend conventions.

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After the meeting opened to the question and answer period, Stueckle asked point blank, “Are ALL the required documents turned in to the State Revolving Fund for the assessment loan approval?” HDWD GM Muzik replied, “Yes.” (That was a bold face lie.)

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Then Stueckle asked, “When are the assessment ballots going to be mailed out?” Muzik answered, “In 8 weeks after the State Water Board has a chance to meet and approve the interest rate.” Stueckle again asked, “Is that the latest…8 weeks, not longer?” Muzik said, “Absolutely.”

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The next day, Wednesday July 30, 2014, Muzik tried to whip out the Draft Engineer’s report to the HDWD Board with only the required noticing of 24 hours in advance for a Special meeting. When I asked him why didn’t he give more advance notice, he replied it was legal at 24 hours.

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The room was filled with citizens who wished to speak on the report but Director Graham demanded to know where are the engineers to answer the questions on this report? (They were probably recuperating after their attendance at the silly Saturday “Free Family Fun Fair” event concocted by CV Strategies Public Relations firm to promote the image of the HDWD which was poorly attended due to triple digit heat wave.) Muzik admitted he knew they would not be able to attend but he “wanted to get the ball rolling.”

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The agenda item was tabled. Despite Director Hough’s insistence to postpone public comments, I stood at the lectern waiting to be recognized by President Mayes. I reminded the board and the public, this was an agendized item and we are entitled to speak to that item. Others spoke after I did.

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During this meeting the incompetent GM Muzik revealed the State Board is waiting to receive the Board’s Resolution approving the Engineer’s report as the final document they need to decide on the loan to determine the interest rate. The previous day he told Shane Stueckle the State had ALL the documents.

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Bottom line: The report came in with higher construction costs which means a higher assessment amount for the sewer vote and all the previous hand-out literature needs to be reprinted, again, reflecting higher assessments.

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The HDWD CFO, Rochelle Clayton, stated the State Revolving Fund Staff had never processed a sewer assessment loan. In fact, Clayton has never processed any SRF loans either and has no previous water or sewer experience. A nice lady but no experience and way in over her head on this multi-million dollar project.

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Muzik continues to pull the wool over the HDWD Board of Directors while taking home close to $300,000. When asked what if the assessment fails, he casually replied, “We’ll have to take a look at the numbers and try again.”

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Without any survey or poll going into the assessment vote, the GM is shooting in the dark…his job does not depend on passing this assessment vote. Time to hire someone with experience because he is fumbling on the job.

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Oh yes, Director Graham requested an agenda item to delay the assessment vote until they have a firm interest rate…she didn’t know that Muzik had already planned to delay it for 8 weeks, or did she??

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Margo Sturges

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Sturges has posted 1,000 articles on Cactus Thorns covering Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, Joshua Tree and San Bernardino County agency meetings. www.MargoSturges.com
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“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”- George Orwell

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