By Mario Conde
Imperial Irrigation District Director Anthony Sanchez is targeted for recall and today he answers to the allegations made against him.
A notice of intention to circulate a recall petition was posted on the Calexico Chronicle-Imperial Valley Weekly this past July 5th as public notice. Sanchez sat with the Chronicle late last week to respond to each of the allegations made against him from this recall intent.
Point number one states that Sanchez has not executed basic fiduciary duties, obligations and has not acted in the best interest of the energy and water rate payers of Imperial County. Sanchez responded that the District has a Double “A” credit rating which is the highest grade given to any organization in today’s economy and has the best interest rate for water and energy rate payers.
“I have influenced the rate reduction of the energy rates twice putting more money on people’s pockets and having a high credit rating is a duty that I have performed. As far as the water rate payers, we still have the lowest Ag per water acre in California and maybe even the Country.” Sanchez said.
The second point says that Sanchez has permitted management to change the Energy Cost Adjustment definition without a public meeting or Board approval and resulted in an over collection excess of one hundred to $150 million dollars from the rate payers of the Imperial Valley.
“The board voted 5-0 on a policy to have our cash reserves on $100 million dollars. I believe the $150 million dollars is out of line since we just had a meeting two weeks ago were our cash reserves were at $100 million. We as a board voted unanimously to adopt that policy to have cash reserves in that amount.” He said.
Point three accuses the IID director for not being an independent decision maker as he votes with John Pierre Menvielle. This, according to the group, resulted in decisions favoring the San Diego Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District. Sanchez responded on the issue of voting along Director Menvielle saying that there are other directors who vote with John Pierre Menvielle, if not more, on the issues.  As far as this resulting in the favoritism to the San Diego Water Authority, he simply said that his loyalty is to the Imperial Valley.
Point number four states how Sanchez has ignored the need to fund the $50 million annually to keep post-Operative Employees Health Benefit Properly Funded. This has resulted in attempts to lay off IID employees instead of meeting these fiduciary responsibilities, the group said. Sanchez responded that the IID is one of the few organizations in California that doesn’t have any kind of unfunded obligations. Sanchez said that the State passed a law requiring every organization needs to have three years of reserves to fund the Operative Employees Health Benefits.
“The Imperial Irrigation District has been funding its proper OPEB every year and that is an issue that no one has brought to the board for any kind of vote or has been discussed by any member. The IID has always been doing a good job funding our benefits every year.”
The recall notice states how there have been attempts to lay off employees instead of meeting its fiduciary duties. Sanchez responded that the district did an efficiency study during the recession and called for only eight out the 1,300 employees to be misplaced.
Finally, Sanchez tied issue number five that said that he has approved layoffs and voted to hire outside employees in the executive, management of employee levels point that has lead to outside executive subcontracting the regular work of local IID employees to outside companies.
Sanchez once again spoke about the efficiency study called for the misplacement of eight employees out the 1,300 that work at the IID. “Many other organizations are doing much more worse.” he said. As far as hiring outside employees to the executive levels, Sanchez said that hiring Brian Brady was a 5-0 vote from the board.
“There are probably over 400 local individuals who are not IID employees that work indirectly providing services for the district. I believe in the right to work.  I think those 400 supplemental workers that do work for a month or two help the district while we keep our full time employees deserve a paycheck to support their families.” Sanchez said responding to allegations that he supports outside agencies that take work from IID employees.
When asked about his thoughts about this recall and why he thinks he is being targeted, Director Sanchez said that all the five points made  against him were mostly 5-0 votes.
“I ask myself, why I am the only being targeted and not the other four? You will think it would be  a recall on all five. It seems more like an opportunistic thing since there is no reason behind this other than someone with a personal agenda against me. I think the people of the Imperial Valley will read between the lines and see that but, again, this is the American process and its a beau

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