Accusations plentiful at Rainbow MWD’s first board meeting since FPUD application to LAFCO – Rainbow to hold special meeting in early April to provide response to LAFCO

March 25 was the date of the first Rainbow Municipal Water District board meeting since the Fallbrook Public Utility District (FPUD) submitted an application to San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission to merge FPUD and Rainbow, and the Rainbow board meeting included a presentation by LAFCO executive officer Mike Ott as well as accusations against Ott and FPUD general manager Brian Brady.

Ott’s presentation also constituted official LAFCO notice to Rainbow, giving the district 25 days to provide an official response to the FPUD application. That 25-day period will end April 19, so Rainbow will hold a special board meeting sometime in early April to address the FPUD application and the Rainbow response.

The North County Joint Powers Authority (JPA) was created in February 2013 as a transitional structure to test the possibility of consolidating the Fallbrook and Rainbow districts. The joint powers agreement also included an employee leasing agreement which allowed FPUD and Rainbow to share employees, and the functional consolidation saved more than $1 million during the agreement’s first 11 months of existence.

In November, the FPUD and Rainbow boards voted to begin the process of applying to LAFCO for an actual jurisdictional consolidation, but district boards could not agree on the governance structure for the successor district. Each district currently has a five-member board; FPUD elects its directors by seat with the entire district voting for each seat while Rainbow elects its directors by division with only voters in that division participating in that election.

The FPUD board initially proposed that the board members of the consolidated agency all be elected at large. At the Feb. 5 North County JPA meeting, FPUD’s representatives on the JPA board (which consists of three FPUD board members, three Rainbow board members, and an at-large member chosen by the rest of the board) put forth a compromise proposal in which four directors would be elected by division and three directors would be elected at large. Such a format would provide board representation for residents of each of the four divisions while also ensuring that a majority of the board would be accountable to all of the district’s residents. Rainbow’s board members rejected that proposal.

The joint powers agreement allowed for a termination provision after one year, and on March 5 Rainbow’s board voted 4-1 with Dennis Sanford in opposition to terminate the joint powers agreement with FPUD. Rainbow board president George McManigle delivered the 30-day notice of termination to FPUD on March 6, so the JPA will be dissolved effective April 5 unless FPUD obtains another partner.

FPUD scheduled a special board meeting for March 10, and the board voted 4-0 (with Archie McPhee absent) to submit an application for the merger to LAFCO.

Prior to the formation of the North County JPA, Ott appeared at a September 2012 community forum at the Bonsall Community Center. At that time he noted that consolidation would be a process which would involve due diligence.

“Now he’s saying that an application from either agency would move it forward,” McManigle said.

The LAFCO study would include municipal service review and sphere of influence updates for both districts. A municipal service review evaluates services and anticipated needs while a sphere of influence study determines boundaries best served by a particular agency. In the event of a consolidation, a dissolved district would be given a zero sphere of influence. The eight-member LAFCO board would hold a public hearing on the proposed consolidation, which would allow Rainbow board members and other members of the public to provide additional input.

During the March 25 meeting, Ott was asked if his staff had knowledge of the FPUD application before it was received.

“He said yes, and to me that becomes an issue of collusion between LAFCO and Fallbrook Public Utility District because they had information that should not be there,” McManigle said.

Brady is the executive officer of the North County JPA as well as FPUD’s general manager, and he was also named as Rainbow’s general manager before resigning after the impasse on the governance of the proposed consolidated agency created a conflict of interest for Brady to remain as Rainbow’s general manager.

“He is on the LAFCO advisory board,” McManigle said, “which to me is a conflict of interest.”

Brady is one of 16 members on LAFCO’s Special Districts Advisory Committee.

Rainbow’s board also noted that FPUD utilized a special meeting to approve the application for consolidation and did not have prior public comment or notice for the item.

“Our legal counsel will certainly be looking at violations of the Brown Act,” McManigle said.

15 Responses to "Accusations plentiful at Rainbow MWD’s first board meeting since FPUD application to LAFCO – Rainbow to hold special meeting in early April to provide response to LAFCO"

  1. ??   April 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    April 3 rd.? Today is wed. April 2 nd.?

    VILLAGE NEWS REPLIES – Upload is going up early

  2. Lee   April 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Hagglin’ over money, hagglin’ over money, hagglin’ over money . . .

    You know, the money that YOU and I provide.

  3. Seriously??   April 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Well, we the people certainly provide it Lee, but I thought you never touch the filthy stuff???

  4. Rainbowtoo   April 3, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Putin takes Crimea, Brady takes Rainbow.
    Dare to undo it. We need a Manager at Rainbow to look out for us, not a warmed over employee with one foot in retirement.

  5. DR DR   April 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Nope Seriously?? If Lee had some, he wouldn’t be so obsessed over it.

    I still would like to know where all the water is going to come from in the future – new homes, more people and no water… and do desalination projects on board.

  6. Watchdog   April 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    People this is over! Fpud board and GM need to quit wining and move on.. Lafco needs to return the $25,000.00 money back to Fpud ratepayers and LAFCO and FPUD needs to tell ratepayers the actual truth $65,000.00 or more for this nonsense. This should be a ratepayers decision not the FPUD Board. We the people do not approve this. This is why are water are bills are high for poor decisions.

  7. oldtimer   April 5, 2014 at 10:26 am

    #4: if you think Rainbow’s GM is not focused totally on Rainbow’s business at hand, you are mistaken. For the first time in a year RMWD has someone at the top whose ONLY concern is serving the needs and best interests of the district and its ratepayers. How refreshing!

    #5: In the past few years, San Diego County’s population has increased; its water consumption has not. I believe from what I read that most local water districts are both encouraging more efficient use of water and seeking new sources, namely desalination and better use of recycled. I know that some growers cannot use water recycled to the current level of TDS content, but work on that is ongoing. If HOA’s could be stopped from fining and/or prosecuting homeowners who want to use water wise landscaping, more water could be saved.

    #6: Sadly, it is not over. LAFCO continues to process FPUD’s "reorganization" (dissolve Rainbow and take its assets) request. There is a whole long step-by-step process continuing. In spite of the recent complaint by an FPUD director that Rainbow was getting most of the "savings", there is obviously a perceived gain for FPUD or they would not have been willing to unilaterally disregard the provisions of a mutual agreement (JPA) and thereby put their trustworthiness in question.

  8. Me   April 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

    @oldtimer: " if you think Rainbow’s GM is not focused totally on Rainbow’s business at hand, you are mistaken. For the first time in a year RMWD has someone at the top whose ONLY concern is serving the needs and best interests of the district and its ratepayers."

    Yeah, right. Best interests of ratepayers. HIGHEST BASE RATE out of 23 districts. Yep, he’s looking out for us alright…..

  9. oldtimer   April 7, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Me: please define BASE RATE.

    And, in case you weren’t aware of the process, the GM does not set the rates. Mr. Brady was Rainbow’s GM for the last year. Do you give him credit for this?

  10. OMEN   April 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    More People Need To Be Aware and ask questions regarding the Deception From Fpuds Board And GM I’m not sure how anyone can trust a person that is so Dishonest to go against its own RMWD Board while still employed by them(RMWD) AND SAYS HE WAS ACTING FOR THE BENEFIT OF RATEPAYERS YOU ALL SHOULD Attend the meetings and get involved consolidation(takeover) whatever you want to call it or not No water bill will get lowered by this the mismanagement of fpuds rate payers money to push a hostile take over is just another example of poor management at all levels Most Of The $ WAS ALREADY BEING SAVED BY RMWD BEFORE ANY OF THIS STARTED. RMWD’S BOARD IS THE ONLY SIDE THAT IS ACTING TO PROTECT THE RATE PAYERS

  11. FPUD and RMWD customer   April 7, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Google "Brian Brady IID". This doesn’t surprise anybody in IID. The FPUD board needs to be replaced. It is as simple as that.

  12. Me   April 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

    @oldtimer…if you need me to explain what a base rate is…..then you shouldn’t be commenting on this topic.

    As for the lousy GM. If he ran his organization more efficiently….they wouldn’t have the highest base rate. He’s the GM. He’s responsible.

    The way you keep sticking up for him, one might think you’re his wife…..

  13. oldtimer   April 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Me: Childish, ad hominem comments do not elevate the discussion.

  14. BonsallGayGuy   April 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Regarding comment #8. I’m not clear what you’re referring to by "base rate" as well. Are you talking about the domestic water use water charges or are you talking about meter charges? Or some combination thereof?

    Thank you

  15. oldtimer   April 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you, BGG. Regarding Me’s comment, I was just trying to make sure we were talking about the same thing, and that we all understood what the term meant.


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