Supervisors appoint Lavacot, Bowden, Dow to LMUD
At a special meeting attended by more than 100 people at Jensen Hall on a snowy Thursday evening, Dec. 27, the supervisors gave the 12 of the 14 applicants three minutes each to state their qualifications for appointment to the board. The supervisors asked no questions, made motions to appoint without discussion and cast only one vote to fill the seat in each ward.
“The LMUD board has some obvious issues and some changes that have to be addressed,” Lavacot said during his three-minute statement. “Everyone here is well aware of this.”
Lavacot, a seven-year resident of Lassen County, and the Five Dot Land and Cattle Company’s vice president of operations, said LMUD board members must set aside their egos and focus on what’s best for the district as a whole. He said the board also must be transparent with employees and ratepayers, communicate ideas and decisions with integrity and respect, and rebuild trust.
After his appointment, Lavacot — pronounced LA-vah-coh — said his first priority will be to address issues employees have with the existing management. He said the board must explore its options and determine what direction it needs to take.
“We also need to focus on the two remaining sitting board members and make sure they’re aboard and elicit some sort of mind-set change on their agenda,” Lavacot said. “If we can do this then we will have a successful venture going on.”
Agreeing LMUD has tremendous problems that need to be resolved, Bowden said he has hired and fired employees as a realtor in Susanville and other areas of California. He retired in 2000 after serving as a correctional sergeant and correctional lieutenant for the California Department of Corrections, and is the vice president of the Lassen County Humane Society.
Saying LMUD is vitally important to the local economy and hiring management and good policy making are major responsibilities of the LMUD board, Dow, said he is a large consumer of energy.
A member of the Lassen Community College Board of Trustees and a ratepayer since LMUD was formed in November 1986, Dow has owned and operated a farming and ranching operation in Lassen County for 28 years. His appointment will force the LCC board to either appoint a new member or hold a special election to fill his seat on the college board.
The board of supervisors had to choose from 14 candidates for the three seats. They were:
•Ward 4 — John Kegg, Matthew F. Lavacot
•Ward 2 — H. W. “Bud” Bowden, Robert Feller, William “Rudy” Valentine, Jay W. Rice, Jon Zenith, Ronald L. Wood
•Ward 5 — Andrew Ron Beauchman, Phil Bertanzoni, Nancy McClure, Maurice Goni, Jay S. Dow, Jr. and Lawrence Cabodi.
Feller and Goni did not show up for the interviews. Goni wrote the board of supervisors a letter saying a family medical emergency forced him to leave town and miss the meeting.
Three candidates dropped out of consideration the same day. Steve Pezzullo, who applied for the Ward 2 seat, and Richard Parker and Frank Turner, who applied for the Ward 5 seat, sent letters to the county clerk’s office withdrawing their applications for seats on the LMUD board on Thursday, Dec. 27.
A 50-year resident of Lassen County, Turner, who owns Turner drilling, Turner urged the board to support Dow for the Ward 5 seat, saying he believed Dow to be “more knowledgeable and experienced.”
Pezzullo, a self-employed certified public accountant who also served on the Lassen Community College District Board of Trustees, did not state a reason for withdrawing.
Richard E. Parker, who formerly served on the LMUD board for one year until he was recalled in March 2002, is the owner of Integrate Insurance and worked as a consultant for Invenergy Wind North America, a company seeking to develop a wind generation facility in Lassen County. Parker wrote that he withdrew to give the county and LMUD a chance for a positive, unbiased future.
“It is imperative that we have impartial decisions about the new exciting, green, clean wind generation coming to our community,” Parker wrote. “To accomplish these goals, I respectfully withdraw my application for the director of LMUD Ward 5.”
The three new members of the LMUD board were scheduled to be sworn in the morning of Friday, Dec. 28, after the paper went to press. A first meeting for the newly constituted board had not been scheduled as of press time.
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