Amid Fullerton’s water rate debacle the City’s representative on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California announced Tuesday that he is stepping down. After representing the City of Fullerton for 24 years on the MWD Board of Directors, Jim Blake says he is done.
It is rumored that Fullerton’s retired city manager Chris Meyer is looking to be appointed as Blake’s replacement but that will require a majority vote by the Fullerton City Council. Since City Council Members Bankhead and Jones appointed Meyer as City Manager in 2002, there is little doubt that they wouldn’t give him the MWD nod as well.
However, with Fullerton’s water rates under scrutiny and an illegal tax being batted about City Hall for justification, you have to wonder how much of the water mess can be attributed to Meyer- not to mention the rest of the City’s countless woes.
An appointment of Meyer to the MWD Board might bring further outcry to City Hall, something the new Mayor might wish to avoid. Since August the Council members have been cussed at, cursed at, sworn up and down, and yelled at. They are now being held accountable for their general lack of leadership by a campaign to recall three members, Mayor Pro Tem Pat McKinley, and members Don Bankhead and F. Dick Jones.
Many believe that the appointment should be filled by a current council member so that they can be held responsible by Fullerton voters for their actions on the Board. Currently, Blake is answerable only to the Fullerton City Council.
If the appointment is to be held by a non-council member, then the process should be open to ALL candidates equally like any other council appointment to a commission or committee.
Whoever is appointed will be tasked with a massive budgetary shortfall that rivals Sacramento’s. The appointee will be asked for double-digit rate hikes and even more spending. They need to know the water industry and even more about public policy and long-term investment solutions. They need to know Fullerton and not just through the myopic eyes of service clubs.
Fullerton deserves an accountable and credible representative on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.