Crucial Concerns of a Retiree Traveler with IID Ties – WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?

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letter to the editor 612x674Whether traveling to Alaska, Oregon, India, or China with internet access it doesn’t matter where I am – I constantly read about strange events at IID. I can only ask, “What the heck is happening at IID & why; what has happened to the checks & balances, transparency and community interaction that was promised from the “new” board and general manager?

Gleaning from the newspapers, IID meetings/minutes, press releases, and historical documents, many unanswered questions arise from what has been called an unprecedented “gutting” of IID energy management and replacement with consultant staff, without any forewarning, especially since all five professional engineers put on leave are said to have only had performance reviews with successful to highly successful ratings for at least 25 years.

Immediately following removal of core management, a former associate of ZGlobal was brought in to serve as energy co-manager and a ZGlobal vice president (former IID energy operator – not an engineer) was brought in to manage the planning & engineering section. The previous energy manager was moved from his co-energy manager position to manage the PMO following the unexpected retirement of the PMO manager. Later, additional ZGlobal replacements, including two new deputy managers were hired to replace the registered professional engineers (PE’s). This use of a consultant company to manage career staff is highly unusual due to obvious affects on advancement, training, hiring; subsequently security and morale.

One of the 5 affected professional engineers departed for another district as General Manager and two other unaffected PE’s quickly departed for nearby agencies along with the Officer of Strategic Business. Another engineer with over 30 years experience, who had moved from Texas, but had not completed his probationary work period was released without explanation. Those functions are now being outsourced to ZGlobal.

Then the GM and Legal Counsel went on record to explain the organizational changes with scathing blanket accusations to this paper and by letter to the ECAC prior to mandatory Skelly Hearings for the PE’s. Yet, after eight months all remain on paid leave still pending completion of their HR due process. Obviously, this has constrained them from commenting to any charges , so questions are going unchecked except through newspaper blogs and social media.

Gleaning further, ZGlobal has assisted IID planning engineering staff to plan, formulate, justify and estimate transmission projects for several years. They also assisted with special transmission studies and feedback to CAISO, where 5 of the 6 officers at ZGlobal, as shown on their internet company bios., worked previously. During that same period of time it appears that ZGlobal also represented and performed engineering for independent power producers (IPP’s ) located in Imperial County. This has led to comment that ZGlobal is “working both sides of the street” – working for IID and at the same time representing IPP’s located in the county. According to the paper ZGlobal was paid $10.9M for 19 projects that were sole sourced to them bypassing normal IID required procurement practices. In reviewing available information, no progress, or final deliverable reports, or audits appear to have been produced that evaluated ZGlogal performance. Also, there appears to be no substantive deliverables for the ZGlobal contract other than a general mention of a transmission plan that was due in March. There is no indication that this deadline was met.

Digging further, the chief internal auditor in 2015 asked ZGlobal to perform an audit of the interconnection process even though ZGlobal was the engineer of record for numerous generator applicants (i.e. the “fox in the henhouse”). This action has led to criticism of IID’s chief internal auditor, who is not certified, and assertion that the GM and General Counsel should not have condoned this – the concern being that ZGlobal was in a position to benefit the generators they worked for and ZGlobal themselves (both from an engineering work standpoint and potentially generator owned standpoint).

Three properties (Alhambra, Sonora, and Arkansas) owned by IID were assessed by IID planning for suitability for PV development. Determined suitable by the planning engieers in 2009, the sites were sold by IID to developers at half the going land value in the area. The developer used ZGlobal for project management and engineering. This led to insinuation of preferential treatment & the use of insider information for benefit.

Further, the Seville Farm Complex PV proposed in 2014 was planned to be located on portions of the 2,440 Allegretti Farms property near Anza. This was proposed by Regenerate Power LLC. to consist of the construction, operation, and reclamation of up to five solar energy projects, including a new access road for SR 78, internal access roads, an IID electrical switch station and electrical substations for each of the projects. The project proponent (Regenerate) is funded by the IBEW retirement funds. Project management was provided by ZGlobal.

Additionally, the Coachella Energy Storage Partners have partnered to construct a $40 million battery storage project at the El Centro Generating Station. ZGlobal is partnered with a previous board member. Now that ZGloobal and their associates control the energy department decisions there is concern that this is again analogous to the “fox in the henhouse” thereby compromising the project.

To compound this problem of conflict and visibility, the board recently revised the internal reporting structure so that project management no longer provides project expenditures to the directors. This means that the board no longer has direct purview of the expenditures that should be paid for by the IPP’s leading to conjecture that these costs could be passed onto ratepayers without the board’s knowledge since ZGlobal represents both the IPP’s and IID, creating another checks & balances issue.

This apparent special treatment of one company which has received almost $20 million in non-competitive, sole source work without accountability requirements, has generated numerous, unnecessary innuendos and increases to do so. This behavior has also led to related questions. For example, “What are employee advancement opportunities with consultants filling management positions?” Will IID train employees for advancement, or do they simply leave for other companies with this experience?” “What can the public expect ?” “Will IID energy rates escalate as a result of their transmission system coming under the CAISO umbrella, or will IID remain a strong, independent utility with low rates?” Or, will IID be relegated to an energy distributor; or are they being groomed to be sold, which has been the goal of a few for a long time?”

Because of the many rumors and so much uncertainty, I believe the IID directors need to immediately fulfill their promises of accountability, transparency and visibility with a public that deserves to know the truth. Unfounded rumors and insinuations can only harm employee morale and erode public trust in a great company that has stood the test of time and been an economic cornerstone of the community providing well-paying jobs for Imperial Valley employees which then stimulates the local economy and in turn supports other local businesses and companies.

Arn Lahde

23 COMMENTS

  1. As a member of IID’s dive team I have a few things to say. The team that Mr Hatfield put together is very professional and we all take our jobs very seriously. JR is doing an excellent job at managing the team. As far as expenses goes most of the costs were a one time expens. It cost money to get something like this started. There was a lot of training and equipment involved. Everyone on the dive team are volunteers. We do not get any extra pay for our services and as far as I know the district recovers a lot of the costs by billing for our services. I know there is someone in the safety department that is very bitter that he didn’t get the opportunity to run the team. I was also a member of the former dive team IID had years ago. On that team I worked with this individual and I can honestly say he has no business running the new team. He couldn’t even schedule training on a regular basis. All of you who are writing all of these ridiculous comments obout the team do not have the slightest idea about us or what we do. To prove my point you can’t even use your real name because you know you will look like fools!

  2. So I’m not understanding why IID’s HR and management is allowing the Emergency Services Supervisor only hire within IID only. We all know that the Supervisor and his sidekick promised the emergency planning position to the northend diver. We also know that the supervisor doesn’t want to open this position to the outside because he doesn’t want any women to apply. He wasn’t able to work for a smart female and doesn’t want to have a smart female working for him either. It’s a shame that he is allowed to do this and also that the HR Recruitment Officer is joining him on his games…….. So let’s look at this… HR Recruitment only has women working there and Emergency Services only has men with a clerk…….. Of course they are learning and playing the game under management’s eyes… For HR Recruitment you need to be a Calexico want-a-be beauty queen to work there and for Emergency Services you need to be a reject or a want-a-be Fireman/cop….. What happen to equal opportunity????? It doesn’t apply because this supervisor cries to Kuhn as always. We all internally knows that this Supervisor has very little experience in emergency management and is playing Kuhn as well as ALL IID Management and BOD. When will it stop??? What has this Supervisor done for IID the past 5 years beside wasting rate payers money on big trucks and unnecessary toys????? Why is this supervisor still employed at IID??? We all thought M. Campbell was bad, this guy is worse with less knowledge and education.

    • U have guilt and nothing better than to complain on a blog or type words that remains not important to people we should check how many people have had accidents cranes heavy equipment better yet call osha get some real saftey people not this bs behind a computer or phone.

    • If you have a complaint for Director Kuhn why not talk to him. I think you’ll find him to be interested & willing to make the time to confidentially hear your complaint.

    • Who are you calling a reject, im the North End diver that you’re talking about. If you have anything to say or complain about why don’t you come to 475 s rio vista in Brawley and we can discuss this like real men and not post stuff without backing your comments up. You shouldn’t involve people that you don’t know the first thing about. That’s the problem with stupid sites and editorials like this, you get a bunch of trolls on here that sit behind a computer and feel 7ft tall 250lb. You got something to say bring it.

      • Well it’s true what they say all muscles but no brains… As far as you being a reject, well if it quacks like a duck it must be a duck. So quack quack quack reject…. You running around with Hatfield and his minion makes you a reject, calling me out for a fight at your home makes you a reject, you knowing that Hatfield has two diver with a medical condition and not letting management know makes you a reject, saying that IID’s dive team is better than both the Sheriff’s and Border Patrol’s dive teams makes you a reject, and you thinking that I’m a male totally makes you a reject…. I can’t believe you have been telling people at work that you are getting the emergency planning job. You have no experience what so ever. It’s funny how management hasn’t fired you and the person that gave you the written questions for the interview… We all know that Hatfield told you about the questions that you were going to be asked at the pre-screen interview. Hatfield shouldn’t be able to ask for a degree for this position. He doesn’t even have one just a GED…. These are facts!!!

        Come on HR these are facts and you still not doing anything cause of Kuhn…. This guy is kicking out women from getting the job because he doesn’t want anyone with some intelligence… So he’ll hire a uneducated guys that received his college degrees from a Cracker Jack box… Disqualifying people because they don’t have a degree and are females is discrimination….

      • Really????? You are calling a women out to fight FD??? Look kid you have a family and you are putting it all out there just to be a want-a-be??? You really need to grow up. Stop being lazy and earn your stripes in the water maintenance department. You signed up for that so own it…
        I agree 100% with Stifler’s Mom. IID HR were are you on this? Hatfield is running heavy equipment cause he wants to hide and claims that the GM and ALL Directors want him to do that. Everyone is very well a are that is BS.
        As a 35 year rate payer I’m ready to show Desert Review and any newspaper all pictures locations and wasted money on equipment Hatfield and his token have spend up to date. The wasteful spending is going to stop and now I’m going to help.
        Just ask on a article.

  3. The GM has just announced the Energy Manager will be taking the trading floor and merchant supply from the CFO. He is also taking the energy budget from the CFO. Quack!

    • I heard the CFO was on vacation and not aware that this was going to happen, when the GM allowed this to occur. Again the GM shows no respect to the employees.

  4. Lack of ethics will destroy IID by itself if it doesn’t watch it. When directors or their families or friends benefit from decisions made by the IID, the employees and ratepayers pay the price. Public trust is not easily regained once lost.

  5. Rule 1 to destroy IID is to Outsource the Good Jobs. IID has backed itself into a dangerous corner with a small consulting firm. As an employee I see lost opportunity. How can IID attract talented workforce in the future? Or,are 4 directors so corrupted to not want to?

  6. The IID will probably be studied by MBA and MPA students for the next 20 years. Much can be learned by studying the mistakes of organizations with poor management.

  7. Hanks says ZGlobal has saved IID to justify his acts betrayal for personal gain. ZGlobal has never had to show progress or completion of anything – only monies owed. Where’s the transmission plan due in March?

    • We all know the transmission plan will be out in March. We just don’t know what year. We all need to ask Hanks since he believes everything ZGlobal sells him. I’m sure he knows.

  8. the fish always rots from the head down …. as far as courage to do the right thing, too many people are in the pockets of the wrong thing

  9. A masterpiece of paranoid creative writing better explained as lies grounded in truthful facts and characters. As usual, this is most likely authored by an IID ghostwriter..

    • Those who seek to “live happily ever after” should reconsider ghostly innuendos lest they unleash several years of conspiratorial email. Promise only.

  10. Long and detailed with many great points on the troubling relationship of ZGloble , Jesse M. With the IID Board. All this has been going on for many years and cotuine as long as there are those that put personal gain before moral and ethical values. One can only hope that the IID Board will have the courage and do the right thing. They are the only ones that can ask the hard questions as most of IID employees can not without concern for their welfare.

  11. What about the internal auditors employment at this company? she worked for them before. Iid has records about this.

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