BREAKING NEWS: Rainbow Water calls a halt to JPA with Fallbrook Public Utility District; governance structure an issue

The North County Joint Powers Authority consisting of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District will be dissolved effective April 5.

A 4-1 Rainbow vote March 5, with Dennis Sanford in opposition, approved the termination of the joint powers agreement with FPUD. “We voted to give them the 30-day notice to end the joint powers,” said Rainbow board president George McManigle.

McManigle delivered the notice of termination to FPUD on March 6. The joint powers agreement allowed for a termination provision after one year; the first North County JPA meeting was held on March 6, 2013.

“It’s unfortunate,” McManigle said. “It was kind of disappointing that it didn’t work out.”

The North County JPA was created in February 2013 as a transitional structure to test the possibility of consolidating the Fallbrook and Rainbow districts. The functional consolidation allowed for the experience of combining tasks among the two districts while also creating the possibility that the districts could experience cost savings due to such sharing without governance consolidation. 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 the Local Agency Formation Commission for an actual jurisdictional consolidation, but the boards of the two districts could not agree on the governance structure for the successor district. Each district currently has a five-member board, but 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 February 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.

“I don’t think anyone on our board is willing to give up the five district by division board that Rainbow operates under,” McManigle said.

During Rainbow’s February 25 regular meeting director Helene Brazier provided a position which noted that functional consolidation was not necessary to achieve the benefits of sharing resources with neighboring water districts as is the case with the recent activity between Rainbow and the Valley Center Municipal Water District to coordinate pipelines. Brazier’s comments defined the proposed merger as absorption into FPUD and permanent minority status instead of a full partnership.

Rainbow’s February 25 board meeting also discussed the process of hiring a new general manager. Rainbow general manager Dave Seymour retired shortly after the creation of the JPA, and FPUD general manager Brian Brady also became Rainbow’s general manager. Brady is also the executive officer for the JPA.

“We will continue with the JPA for the next 30 days, so Brian Brady is our general manager for another month,” McManigle said.

The Rainbow board is likely to approve the selection of an interim general manager at its March 25 meeting.

The dissolution of the JPA ends the employee leasing agreement for the time being. “There’s no reason there can’t be a new agreement to benefit from or extend the employee leasing agreement,” McManigle said. “I think the Rainbow board would be happy to consider a new employee leasing agreement in the future.”

50 Responses to "BREAKING NEWS: Rainbow Water calls a halt to JPA with Fallbrook Public Utility District; governance structure an issue"

  1. JIM M.   March 7, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Did anyone think to ask the rate payers if they wanted to continue saving a million dollars a year. I know this one would. So swallow your pride and do what is bet for rate payers and not yourself.

  2. RtotheM   March 7, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Did anyone think to question the claim that there was a million dollar savings? Say’s who? And at what cost? Paying 50% for GM who only puts in 15% isn’t much of a god deal. Does that ‘JPA savings’ include positions that were vacated months before the JPA was even formed? Lies, darn lies, and accounting if you ask me.

    And, yes, Jim… Someone did ask the ratepayers. Four of the five ratepayers who were elected to make the hard choices determined it was a bad deal. Kudos to all five Rainbow Board Members for your hard work and thankless efforts. This is one ratepayers who DOES appreciate you.

  3. nice   March 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Nice to know that F & R were able to work together. So much for that.

  4. Emmy   March 7, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    This seems like children having tantrums of "my way or no way"! What a shame. Combining these two would be good in the long run.

  5. BonsallGayGuy   March 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I’m very glad that my elected representative saw fit not to go along with this plan and that the board majority agreed. Substantial operational savings can be achieved along with maintaining the direct community control that we currently enjoy. This is not an ‘either or proposition’.

    Co-operation yes! Merger no!

  6. Lee   March 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    This is ALL about the haggling about money. That’s all.

    Do WE, THE PEOPLE get to vote on any of this directly? If not, why not? Where is the TRUE democracy? Where?

    PS. You wanna know about Dave Seymour? Enjoy.

  7. Me   March 7, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    All 23 districts should be combined into ONE County service.

  8. oldtimer   March 7, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Well, FPUD certainly wants to work in cooperation with Rainbow. NOT. The agenda of a special meeting they have called for Monday says they want to reorganize Rainbow ON THEIR TERMS, with Rainbow having nothing to ay about it. That smacks of desperation to me. Read the agenda package for the March 10 special meeting at Rainbow ratepayers, watch out!

  9. oldtimer   March 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Since my previous comment was deleted, do I assume that The Village News does not want Rainbow ratepayers to know that FPUD has filed to reorganize RMWD? Check Look under agendas. Find March 10 special meeting agenda package. Read for yourself. That is, if your local newspaper will let you see this. Or is censorship alive in Fallbrook?

    ***VILLAGE NEWS COMMENTS – Dear “oldtimer” – please don’t fabricate or insinuate situations that don’t exist. If your comments are not libelous for us to approve, they will appear. Your comments about us, which are not true and appear to be antagonistic, do not do anything positive for your credibility in general. Thank you. Debbie Ramsey

  10. oldtimer   March 7, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Meetings and agendas

    March 10 special meeting agenda package

  11. Amazed rate payer   March 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    AMAZING!!! First the RMWD Board of Directors try to vote themselves a 100% Per Diem raise for meetings they barely attend, (the article is even listed below in the local news still) and now they turn away from a merger that has already saved them $800,000 in less than a year. Talk about self-serving, they really don’t care about the Rainbow rate payers. I’m very glad FPUD won’t have to put up with that kind of leadership, it’s financially irresponsible.

  12. RMWD ratepayer   March 7, 2014 at 11:31 pm


    I’m sure the board will appreciate your comments. But it isn’t over. Check out FPUD’s web site and see what comes next.


    I’s neither. Check site referenced above.

  13. Avo Farmer   March 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Some RMWD customers in favor of the merger are under the false impression that RMWD can not get low interest rate loans because of Ordinance 95-1 and having this merger would fix that problem. Reading this story, makes me believe that RMWD has no problem getting low interest rate loans and all the other arguments in favor of the merger maybe false too. I agree with the BonsallGayGuy, that they should co-operate to save expenses, but stay independent. I would never trust FPUD to do the right thing.

  14. Pink   March 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I’m one of the "lucky" ones (nod nod, wink, wink) living in the FPUD district. I believe that both FPUD and RMWD have pros and cons that would be helped by a merger, i.e Rainbows rapidly failing infrastructure could be addressed. In terms of a loan it will be easier for FPUD to get one, than it will for Rainbow, etc.

    On the minus side we have the management of FPUD, which to put it mildly, isn’t stellar. As far as boards go, I know a few of the people who serve on both, and while I believe that they are all above reproach, I think I would feel better with people like Rua Petty having a say in things. He is a stand up, trustworthy kind of guy.

    I’m not sure how all of this will end, but I have a bad feeling that whichever way it goes, we, the ratepayer, will end up with the short end of the stick.

  15. Loren in RMWD   March 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Ditto to those who want to remain independent. If you guys are going to combine the two districts then PUT IT ON THE BALLOT!! Rainbow rate payers should have an opportunity to directly vote whether to abolish the district.

    Oh and to #11 and what you said:
    "I’m very glad FPUD won’t have to put up with that kind of leadership" I just have a two word rebuttal and its ARCHIE MCPHEE!!

  16. Avo Farmer   March 8, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    FYI, There is an excellent article about water in California’s future in the WSJ today.

    There is plenty of water. Our leaders are just beholding to the obstructionists.

    SDCWA is already paying $1500 for people to remove 1000 sq ft of lawn. I figure one avo trees uses the same water as more than 5,000 sq ft of grass. I’m holding out for $7500/tree. Let Mexico supply all the produce for the entire US. It’s going that way anyway. Now we just need for Obama to do a fly over So CAL dropping bales of $$ on all the farms. Problem solved. Yehaw.

  17. RtotheM   March 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Re: Comment #11 – if I remember correctly, the vote to increase the Per Diem was put on the agenda by a single Board Member and the vote failed. Also, the vote split differently than the merger withdrawal vote, which tells me that the RMWD Board is NOT voting as a single blok and each member gives fair consideration for their position prior to voting.

    Also, please PLEASE do your research and find out who is saying that RMWD has saved $800k. And find out where that savings is coming from. Are old positions that were vacated months before the merger included? Is the retired GMs total salary included? Is 50% of the FPUDs GM included? Has FPUDs GM really given 50% of his effort to RMWD?

    And finally, if RMWD is saving all this money by using FPUDs employees, what were FPUDs employees doing prior to the JPA? Were they just sitting around playing checkers? Sounds like FPUD might be a little fat in the employee department. What are all those FPUD employees going to do when RMWD becomes independent again??? If I were an FPUD rate payer I’d be asking hard questions to the FPUD board members.

  18. oldtimer   March 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Follow the money. In FPUD’s March 10 agenda package, page 31, item 6. reads in part,

    "All property, whether real or personal, including all monies) including cash on hand and monies due to uncollected) of the Rainbow Municipal Water District shall be transferred to and vested in Fallbrook Public Utility District, including but not limited to:" . A list of Rainbow’s assets follows. Emmy, you might feel like having a tantrum if someone decided to take all your assets and make you disappear.

    This is a hostile takeover. The topics of the Monday meeting dispel any notion of cooperation or mutual interest. The inflated figures tossed around as savings include 6 RMWD employees who have been gone between 1 and 2 1/2 years. Three were senior management and their absence has hindered Rainbow’s ability to move forward, leaving the district vulnerable to this grab. Rainbow has cut its own budget three times in the last three three years by $600,000, $600,000, and $550,000, saving ratepayers $1.75 million. The suggested per diem raise was DEFEATED by a board majority. What makes Amazed think the directors "barely attend"? That is provably not so.

    ***VILLAGE NEWS COMMENTS – Dear "oldtimer" – please don’t fabricate or insinuate situations that don’t exist. If your comments are not libelous for us to approve, they will appear. Your comments about us, which are not true and appear to be antagonistic, do not do anything positive for your credibility in general. Thank you. Debbie Ramsey

    RE ViILLAGE NEWS COMMENTS: My comments were based on seeing submissions listed as " unapproved", seeing them stay up for a while in blue, and seeing them disappear. They appear to be up today. If the perception of their being taken down was wrong, I apologize. A clear explanation of the process might help.

  19. IPayRainbowDiv1   March 8, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve been a Rainbow customer for more years than I care to admit, and have been excited about the proposed combination of districts. So I’ve been following this closely but never have commented. I can’t stay silent any longer. Why is it that the comments by "Old Timer" are almost word-for-word exactly the same as Rainbow’s director Helene Brazier? We voted these people into office to represent our best interests. But when I read about them trying to increase their compensation at a time like this my blood boils.

  20. Ray z   March 8, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    This is crazy all savings are from rainbow only not rehiring or replacing staff.No major savings on Jpa fpud has not contributed anything to this consolidation they make it sound outrageous public attend your board meetings and ask questions again it is over let both districts be separated better to ratepayers.

  21. Emmy   March 9, 2014 at 7:34 am

    No consolidation!

  22. oldtimer   March 9, 2014 at 10:08 am

    IPay RainbowDiv1-

    The director’s comments are public record. Even the press quotes them. If they express my thoughts and are better said, why not use them?

    One thing hasn’t been talked about yet: Wouldn’t Mr. Brady’s participation in this hostile takeover be a conflict of interest? Wouldn’t his continued occasional presence at Rainbow be like a Union soldier behind Rebel lines?

    Loren- Division 2 director has been pushing for a public vote from the start of merger talks. I think division 1 director supported that.

  23. Lee   March 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Hagglin’ about money, hagglin’ about money, and more hagglin’ about money.

    Anybody see the problem?

  24. Life in Morro Hills   March 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Oldtimer: thanks for the info about Jack Griffith. I always voted for him and am glad to know that his views once again are in complete agreement with mine.

    The rate payers should get to vote on any consolidation proposal. Put it to a direct vote of the people!

  25. grandpa Bob   March 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Headline ‘Rainbow Water calls a halt to JPA with Fallbrook Public Utility District’ That’s a big relief! Good grief I have no idea what these people were ever thinking. Rainbow is well run. Why would we ever want to absorb the mess that is FPUD? There is nothing of lasting benefit for Rainbow’s rate payers under this plan.

  26. Pass the smelling salts, I just got my water bill   March 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I’d write something here but I have to get back outside. I left my hose running and for every 60 seconds it’s on, my water bill goes up another $50. Gotta run……..

  27. Pass the smelling salts......   March 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    PS-I’m also in Rainbow. I don’t think this consolidation is such a hot idea.

  28. The real problem   March 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Serious problems exist in management of both water districts. Until one board has the guts to change the fact that they are paying ditch diggers and telephone receptionists the same as businesses out in the ‘real world’ are paying college graduate professionals, rocket scientists, etc. the taxpayers continue to get robbed. get real with the wages and benefits. its absolute insanity. they need to stop being scared to manage.

  29. FPUD customer   March 9, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    OK, I’m in a newer tract development. Small yard. Low usage. All that’s important to me is if this proposed addition of Rainbow will make my rates go up or down. Rainbow has huge difered maintenance costs that they havn’t taken care of over the years. Do we in Fallbrook really want to take on that?

    As for this guy Lee. I see his posts all the time. Where does he live? I had no idea that FPUD or Rainbow serviced all the way out to Pluto.

  30. oldtimer   March 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    grandpa Bob- Thank you. You are right on all counts.

    Lee- If someone filed to take away everything you have and to make it as if you had never existed, wouldn’t it be worth a little "hagglin’ to save your bacon? I haven’t followed your comments so I don’t know if you are a customer of RMWD or FPUD, but it sounds like FPUD. They’re the only party to gain from this.

  31. Me   March 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I used 4 cubic feet of water last month…..and paid $81.68 (no sewer)

    Rainbow is charging excessively.

  32. RMWD ratepayer   March 10, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Pink, I’m not sure where you have received information on RMWD infrastructure , but Rainbow has been working very hard to repair, replace, and maintain it. Are you aware of FPUD’s serious problems with the wastewater treatment plant? Do you realize that Red Mountain Reservoir, built with good UV technology has an asphalt bottom? It has cracks which are being repaired this winter. The state wants all asphalt gone from drinking water reservoirs. So it won’t be many years before the expensive job of replacing Red Mountain’s asphalt will have to be done.

    Mr. Petty chose to leave Rainbow’s board several years ago. Dennis Sanford replaced him.

  33. Doreen in Bonsall   March 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

    @FPUD customer. You should also know that YOUR water district -Fallbrook- has some major liabilities and I’m talking about SERIOUS debt issues. That’s something I and my husband do NOT want to have to pay for. Rainbow has been really well managed over the years. Our infrastructure issues are being taken care of as we go. Rainbow didn’t put everything on credit like they’re doing up in Fallbrook. I’m with all the other rate payers from Rainbow and don’t want outright unification. Let our Rainbow directors work with Fallbrook where it make sense, sure but no this plan. Our rep is Mrs. Brazer and there are 2 votes here that say NO!! Hope you’re reading this but it looks like you’re already on the right side of this. Thank you.

  34. Lee   March 10, 2014 at 8:09 am

    @ #28 The real problem


  35. oldtimer   March 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Me- four cubic feet of water wouldn’t even fill your bathtub. Do you mean four units?

    FPUD customer- Your water rates will not go down no matter what happens. Both districts buy all their water from Metropolitan Water District and San Diego County Water District. Neither district has any control over the rate hikes that come down from them.

  36. RtotheM   March 10, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Re: Comment #19… I find it interesting that you are concerned about who oldtimer is. He speaks the truth and appears very knowledgable. You don’t question or rebut his position so I assume that you can’t, either due to lack of knowledge or a concession that oldtimer is correct.

    I could just as easily accuse you of being FPUDs General Manager based on similar things he has said in the past. Hmmm….

  37. Pink   March 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

    @Comment 32: I stand corrected about Rua Petty. However, we both know that the old infrastructure of RMWD is an accident waiting to happen. FPUD has major problems as well, as you stated, but they have a better financial standing than Rainbow does. I’m not crazy about a merger, and I certainly don’t back a takeover, but the rate payers are the real losers here, no matter what happens.

  38. Frosty   March 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    This was all nuts anyway. They would have just continued the pattern of quietly raising your rates every year to maintain those fat retirement checks. All this merger would have done is get a bunch of lower end employees laid-off. I feel for you SoCal, where I live there are 5 private water companies all serving the area and all easy to work with, if you don’t like your service you just go to the next company down the street! Free Market Reins Supreme!

  39. Me   March 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    @oldtimer…sorry 🙂 I meant 400 cubic feet.

  40. FPUD and RMWD customer   March 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    @Oldtimer. While you are correct that the price for the water FPUD purchases from SDCWD is raised every year. But FPUD raises the rates they charge us for water 6 months in advance of their costs going up plus they add an extra 20% on top. They doubled their bogus "Capital Improvement charge" despite telling us all that it would remain unchanged in the rate increase notice. FPUD can not be trusted.

    @Frosty. How is that possible? If you switch companies, do they put in new water pipe or have to change out your meter? I like the concept of free market, but they would probably screw it up here like they did when they de-regulated the electric companies. We will be paying for that fiasco for the rest of our lives.

  41. RMWD ratepayer   March 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Frosty-where do you live? What is your interest in these two water districts? If you have five water companies in your area, there must be plenty of water. Can we assume that drought and water shortages do not occur there?

    In case you don’t realize this, neither district has its own water supply. Water must be purchased from suppliers. The suppliers can raise rates without the permission of FPUD or RMWD. They have no choice but to raise rates or sell water for less than it costs. That would make no sense. They’d be bankrupt in no time.

  42. RMWD ratepayer   March 10, 2014 at 8:27 pm


    Why is FPUD trying to make RMWD disappear if as they have indicated they want to work together? Didn’t they read the JPA agreement? The exit strategy, available for either party, was written into it in pretty clear language. Copies were available even to the public a year ago.

    Mr. McManigle, RMWD’s board president said they’d given it a good try and it didn’t work out for them. Why punish RMWD for being candid, and for following the rules set out in the beginning? Rules both districts agreed to.

    That’s odd behavior. Establish reasonable rules for operating or disbanding. Then when one party doesn’t do what you want, you start a hostile takeover. That is supposed to make RMWD’s ratepayers and employees think you are great?

  43. Lee   March 11, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Hagglin’ over money, hagglin’ over money, and more hagglin’ over money.

    When will we get it?

  44. Maureen   March 11, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I’m another Rainbow customer who objects to this plan. Fallbrook has plans and they don’t include what’s best for us.

  45. RtotheM   March 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    1090 violation? You bet’cha!

  46. What's going on?   March 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I saw that FPUD had a meeting yesterday. So what happened? Are they still trying to take us over. Can the village news provide further coverage?

    ***VILLAGE NEWS REPLIES*** Yes, we are working on updated stories. Thank you. We will have them. D. Ramsey

  47. Im2busy   March 12, 2014 at 9:48 am

    FPUD shutdown order…where’s RMWD? Who manages best? Ask where IS Brian Brady??? Not @ Fallbrook office not at Rainbow…..oh yeah, meetings, meetings, meetings….WHO with and WHY? Just sayin

  48. ELLA   March 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    What makes people think that any proposed savings will dribble down to the rate payer- All this talk about savings needs to be proved up with a detailed account of where and how this claimed "savings" was calculated-or did they use the "swag" method- It appears that FPUD is willing to push this merger (absorption) regardless of how the RWMD board voted-what makes you think that FPUD would honor any future agreements JPA or otherwise-I think their true colors are starting to show

  49. oldtimerr   March 13, 2014 at 9:38 am


    You are right. Rainbow followed the rules, spent a year considering whether consolidation would benefit ratepayers, and came to the conclusion that it would not. They took the steps the JPA agreement required to withdraw. Then FPUD decided their opinion was the only one that mattered and Rainbow should become their property. The phantom "savings" were never important. They were just a pretense to do what they are doing.

    You are right to question whether FPUD would honor any future agreements. They haven’t honored the JPA agreement, or they wouldn’t have taken the action they did on Monday.

  50. Food for thought   June 7, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Remember several years ago when a ballot measure passed giving rainbow authority to pass measures without rate payers approval? Since we are not in the decision making loop any longer we now sit on the side lines and watch this scenario play out.

    Remember how many years ago the big malls came in and squeezed out all the mom and pop stores? The few dollars that were saved with the arrival of the malls cost us dearly. I say this because the local growers in our community are being squeezed out with high water bills and the threat of loosing the grower’s water rate reduction.
    I don’t know how this will play out between Rainbow and FPUD but my concern is for helping our local growers stay in business. I would rather pay a little more on my water if that helps local growers stay in business.


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