Board Of Supervisors Vote Saves Foresthill Public Utility District $25,000

The Placer County Board of Supervisors saved the Foresthill Public Utility District about $25,000 Tuesday by resolving a deadlock over who should fill a vacancy on the district’s board of directors.

Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Bret Finning, an associate planner with the city of Rocklin and 20-year Foresthill resident, to fill the vacant seat on the district board. He served on the Foresthill Forum from 1993 to 1997 and was a member of the Foresthill Divide Community Plan Team from 1995 to 2003.

Supervisors agreed all three candidates are well qualified for the position. The other two applicants were Duane Frink, a former member of the Foresthill PUD board whose resume includes 37 years with the California Department of Transportation; and John W. Northup, a certified public accountant who has an accounting business in Foresthill.

“They all have incredible, relevant experience and backgrounds that they would bring to this board,” said 5th District Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, Foresthill’s representative on the Board of Supervisors.

Montgomery and her board colleagues encouraged Frink and Northup to stay active in district affairs and suggested the district board may want to set up an advisory body to take advantage of the expertise of community members such as a Frink and Northup and give them a regular voice on district issues.

The vacancy on the district board was created in March when one of its five members resigned. A vacancy normally would be filled by a vote of the district board’s remaining members, but that approach did not work in the case at hand because none of the three applicants had majority support from the remaining four board members.

On May 19, the district formally asked the Board of Supervisors to break the deadlock.

State law provides for the Board of Supervisors to appoint someone to fill a vacancy on a special district board if the district does not do so within 60 days. If supervisors did not fill the vacancy by June 22, the district would have been required to call a special election.

Assistant County Clerk Gloria Coutts told the Board of Supervisors a special election would cost the district about $25,000. “So, it is a significant issue to the district,” she said.

Coutts noted the district is scheduled to hold a separate special election June 21 on a rate-related initiative, but an election to fill the vacant board seat could not be consolidated with that upcoming election.

Created in 1950, the district operates Foresthill’s water system. Its service area covers approximately 13,000 acres and has a population of about 5,200 people.