News Archive

7/12/2012 AWA Board Meeting Minutes

  • AWA Board Approves June Payments of $42,000 in Attorney’s Fees

    There was little on the agenda for the July 12th Amador Water Agency board meeting agenda. However, the public asked the board to pull the payables list from the consent agenda in order to discuss payments to AWA’s attorney of $42,000 (which would pay for nearly 5 weeks of legal work at $220/hour). General Manager Gene Mancebo explained that the attorney has been setting up community facilities districts, fixing 66013 accounting reports and other issues. The Board has already authorized $263,000 for other consultants to work on these same issues. When Director Bob Manassero pointed out that it was probably more than one attorney working on these projects, former Director Debbie Dunn exclaimed “that is the point.”

    The public also questioned a $4,500 payment that AWA made to auditor Leaf and Cole for additional work on the 2010-2011 audit, but Board refuses to disclose what the auditor is actually working on.

    In March 2012, the public showed that the audit did not agree with other financial reports. Since March, the public has discovered that AWA has never accounted for restricted funds as the law requires, resulting in a lawsuit. The discrepancies would have come to light in August 2011, but the Board backed the General Manager in refusing to produce the relevant data.

    The auditor and AWA exchanged no financial information in the first month following the disclosure that the audit was inconsistent with other reports filed with the Court. The only communication between them concerned how they would deal with the fact that the information provided by AWA was incorrect. However, AWA did not provide corrected data to the auditor.

  • AWA Future Topics List Has Become Unmanageable

    Because the public has repeatedly complained that the AWA Directors are ignoring important issues costing ratepayers millions of dollars, the Board has a list of 22 topics for future discussion. Director Paul Molinelli stated that General Manager Gene Mancebo is “tremendously overworked”, but did not state what Mancebo is working on. Several directors stated that staff is overloaded but did not state the reason for the overload. Molinelli asked “why aren’t we clicking these things off?” and then suggested taking some items off the list, rather than ever discussing them.

    Board President Gary Thomas said “I wish we could just knock something out.” He asked if the board really needed a workshop on the 66013 reports. Concerning the 66013 reports, Molinelli said “It seems to me that a 5-second explanation covers it.” Director Bob Manassero suggested “striking” the item from the list.

    The audit is delayed because it is irreconcilable with the 66013 reports. The 66013 reports are required by law to account for funds that can only be spent for the specific purpose for which they are collected. A lawsuit is pending in Amador Superior Court to require AWA to simply report how much money was collected and what it was spent on. No director has explained why AWA does not simply disclose that information to the auditor so the Board and the public can know the true state of AWA’s finances.

    Former Director Bill Condrashoff observed, “AWA started working on the 66013 report a year ago and was required by law to publish it in January. In March, we found out that the auditor used different figures, and four months later we still don’t know which figures are correct. It seems to be more than a 5-second issue if the Directors sincerely want to know how they are spending public funds.”

    The Board directed Mancebo and Thomas to come back with an attempt at organizing the future meeting topics list with scheduling priorities. Thomas pointed out that they “did that last time.”