EL CENTRO – At the regular meeting of Tuesday, January 8, the IID Board of Directors voted to revise Governance Policy B-7 to declare that the Board is client on all legal matters, including granting of any legal waivers.
The Board voted 4 to 0 in favor of the revision.
Director Bruce Kuhn was absent due to illness.
On July 24, 2007, the Board adopted a governance code that sets out several Board policies to assist in governing district operations. Policy B-7, Outside Legal Services, requires that the retention of outside counsel shall be authorized by the General Manager and the Board, as a joint body.
Related to this is also the matter of authorizing waivers to certain attorneys that might have a conflict of interest while representing both the IID and another client.
IID Board Vice President James Hanks had requested that the Board discuss B-7 in the context that the Board is the client and all legal issues should come before it and that the policy should be amended to reflect that. He also wanted to rescind of all attorney waivers that have been issued by the district, subject to the Board’s further review. Any future waivers will come before the Board for ratification.
IID pays millions of dollars to outside attorneys, including David Osias, San Diego attorney.
Some have questioned Osias’ loyalty to the IID and his treatment of some the largest IID ratepayers.
“The bottom line is the Board is the client on legal matters,” said Hanks. “I’ve worked on many boards over the years; I know who the client is.”
General Counsel Jeff Garber, who has been conspicuously absent from Board meetings or just sitting in the audience, disagreed with the concept.
Garber doesn’t recognize the Board as a client.
Hanks said, “If the Board isn’t the client, who gives General Counsel direction? As long as counsel is allowed to operate where the Board is not the client, then they are making decisions the Board doesn’t know about.”
In other business, the Board declined to adopt the General Manager Kevin Kelley’s 2013 Plan of Work.
The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors is taking control of the utility.