EL CENTRO â€“ At the regular meeting of the IID Board of Directors Tuesday, June 11, General Manager Kevin Kelley announced that his office has contracted communications firms to assist in the QSA litigation.
â€œSince your May 28 meeting, â€œ said Kelley, â€œI want to report to the Board and public that my office has engaged the services of two outside communications firms to assist with the QSA litigation and, more specifically, the Salton Sea restoration and mitigation initiative this Board has authorized. Letters of engagement have been signed by me with APCO Worldwide in Sacramento and with the Diversity Consulting Group, which is based in Santa Barbara. Service agreements for both firms, which are not open-ended but are instead being entered into on a six-month project basis, will be presented to your Board as action items when you next meet on June 25.â€
â€œBoth firms are experienced in issues advocacy, coalition-building with policymakers and stakeholders, and coordination with legal counsel in sensitive litigation,â€ continued Kelley. â€œTheir charge will be to develop messaging that aligns with your Boardâ€™s strategic direction and to fundamentally alter the status quo at the Salton Sea, something that no court, based on what we have seen to date in a decade of litigation surrounding the QSA coordinated cases, has been willing to do. Working in close coordination with the Districtâ€™s government affairs representatives, its outside legal counsel, and a working group drawn from Water, Energy, Finance, and Real Estate, this specialized communications function will add a new and much-needed dimensionÂ to the integrated team we have assembled in support of your Boardâ€™s policy aims and strategic objectives at the Salton Sea.â€
During board member comments, Director James Hanks clarified the ruling last week by the Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly on the QSA.
â€œThe tentative ruling that Judge Connelly gave needs to be kept in perspective,â€ said Hanks. â€œIt was a validation ruling. It was probably the last item that related to environmental impacts. The validation is a ruling that the procedures, or processes, have been followed correctly. It doesn’t mean that the contract is workable as it is written, whether we can perform under the terms of the contract, or necessarily conserve the amount of water under the contract. Thatâ€™s what the ruling was and it should be kept in the proper prospective.â€