Digger - March 12, 2011
In the 17 March 2011 issue of Borrego.s bi-weekly newspaper, the Borrego Sun, a letter purporting to be from the husband of the only remaining member of the previous, notoriously dysfunctional, Borrego Water District board (The Worthies) appeared. While grudgingly acknowledging that "reducing expenditures... is important", the letter writer disingenuously complained that the new board was spending too much time on correcting the District's disastrous financial situation while ignoring groundwater management.
Ironically, the newly elected board majority and Acting General Manager had no choice but to do exactly that as a direct result of the indifference, irresponsibility, and willful ignorance of the previous board coupled with the colossal incompetence and arrogance of the former general manager, Richard S. Williamson, who, with the board's complicity, ran the district like his own private fiefdom. As a result of the catastrophic damage inflicted on the district's finances by this unholy alliance, it is absolutely imperative that the new board focus on putting the district's financial house in order if it is to remain a going concern.
Until 2006 the BWD board, irrespective of its membership, was simply unwilling to do what was necessary to correct the overdraft. That was bad enough. Then The Worthies were elected. They continued the do-nothing tradition of earlier boards with respect to the overdraft, but had no compunctions whatsoever about spending money willy-nilly on any heroic engineering project the overly ambitious Williamson could dream up.
Willamson and The Worthies who hired him dissipated the district's cash reserves of approximately $6.5 million in fewer than three years with virtually nothing to show for it. The money is just gone. As a consequence, the present board inherited a district that has no reserves, is faced with a negative cash flow, and cannot borrow money because it is not credit worthy.
Dealing with this toxic legacy and putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again will require a Herculean effort by the new board and G. M.
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