Water company hires manager
By John Bowler
Last week, the Crooked River Ranch Water Co. board announced the hiring of Frank Day as the new general manager.
A Ranch resident, water company member and volunteer fireman with the Ranch Fire Department, Day is the son of Bill and Joyce Day, who have lived at the Ranch for 10 years.
Ranch Fire Chief Tim McLaren said Thursday, "Frank's a go-getter and we're glad to have him as a firefighter volunteer. As water company manager, I admire Frank's ideas for the company and feel we can work and grow our organizations in unison."
The announcement closed the loop on a circle of problems documented in the Pioneer, which began with the appointment of Day's predecessor James R. Rooks to that same CRRWC position roughly 10 years ago.
During the interim years, CRRWC and Rooks were often embroiled in confrontations and lawsuits with individual members and the Water Watchdogs, a group representing member interests.
The Watchdogs filed a petition with the requisite number of member signatures to cause appointment of the Oregon Public Utilities Commission to exercise financial and operational oversight on the CRRWC.
The appointment was bitterly opposed in local and state courts by CRRWC management and eventually resulted last year in a lawsuit initiated by Ranch resident Charles Nichols, and joined by the Oregon attorney general, to bring CRRWC to heel.
The lawsuit resulted in an agreement last August between the company and its suitors to elect a new board of directors.
The newly elected board took over the CRRWC Nov. 9, 2010, and Rooks immediately resigned his general manager position. Since then, the water company has been turned around about 180 degrees, culminating in February with the appointment again of the PUC to oversee CRRWC finances and services.
CRRWC also has contracted with Avion Water Co. of Bend to provide technical and operational services.
The board's new set of bylaws was well received by members and was approved by the board last month. Past due bills have been paid, well No. 4 repaired and put back into service, transparency of board actions and decisions restored and now a new general manager hired to oversee operations.
The PUC's Michael Dougherty, who has been involved with CRRWC's troubles all along, said Thursday that PUC has resumed oversight of the company finances and services and filed a joint report with company management of its findings.
It can be viewed at http://apps.puc.state.or.us/edockets/docket.asp?DocketID=13450.
"There's still plenty to do, but I have no trouble promptly obtaining the data and records needed to make timely analyses," Dougherty said. "The company contracting with Avion for technical and operational support is an excellent move; Avion knows that business. I'm also pleased they have found a new GM, which was needed."
Born in Vermont, Day worked in store management with Wal-Mart for 18 years, and then moved to the Ranch last September with his wife, Joanne, and three offspring, Cortnie, Josh and Cydnie.
"My immediate goals are to restore company's transparency and integrity with members, plus listen to and solve their issues as openly and honestly as I can," he commented.
"Long-range, the company needs more storage, pumping capacity and hydrants," Day said. "We need to improve on what we have."
There's solid evidence that the CRRWC problems have been mostly settled by its new board, chaired by Dennis Kirk, and the company's future appears to be bright.