New IID Board sets positive pace forward



Director Kuhn, Vice President Hanks, President Dessert, Director Galindo, Director Benson


EL CENTRO – The Imperial Irrigation Board of Directors held their regular meeting of December 10 with the new Board members in place.

The new Board members were installed at a special meeting Friday, December 7.

Vice President Matt Dessert opened with welcoming the new Board and noted that the Board will be looking for ways to expedite future meetings.

“We are shortening the Public Comment period from 5 to 3 minutes to guarantee that everyone may have an opportunity to speak,” said Dessert.

General Manager Kevin Kelley had a prepared statement.

“Today I met in closed session with the reconstituted IID Board to discuss key elements that will figure prominently in the evaluation of the General Manager,” said Kelley. “This was in my view entirely fitting and proper and in conformity with the Board’s own Governance Model and the Safe Harbor provision under the Brown Act. Based on the input I received today, it is my intension to prepare and publish a program of work for next weeks’ open session agenda that the Board and public can review and comment on prior to what I hope will be its adoption. Coming out of closed session, I also want to report to the Board, public, and our own employees that I will be issuing a memorandum this week to make plain that no staff member should have any misgivings about engaging directly with individual Board members on matters of concern to him or her. As General Manager, I’m more interested in rooting out problems within the organization than I am in ferreting out leaks. I’m also mindful that the Board members are elected to serve their constituents and employees don’t stop being constituents simply because of where they work. So to sum up, to the extent that there ever was such a gag order, it will cease to exist as of this week.”

Officers were elected for the calendar year 2013.  

Vice President Matt Dessert was voted President. Director James Hanks was voted Vice President. Gloria Rivera was appointed Board Secretary. Maria Caldera was appointed Treasurer.

President Dessert determined the agenda would be considered item by item, including the consent agenda, in light of the new Board members.





  1. As I said before…you morons got what you wanted…the new directors are bought and paid for by a group that wants “non-farmers” to be “non-involved”. They said it from the beginning, in public, on the record and you dumbasses STILL voted for their guys…you bought your ticket, now shut up and enjoy the ride.

    • Are there any solutions Charlie to this recurring vicious cycle and control by 10% that is so detrimental to the economic diversification and future of our poorest of the poor regions? As a past and sage old suckling of this teet- please offer us some productive and sage advice and solutions-if any.

      • homegirl, as has been said before, “elections have consequences”…you and your cronies here clamored for “change”…well, you got it in the form of of BoD that is bought and paid for by people who believe that if your not a farmer, you don’t matter. Any thoughts or opinions I might have on how they “should” do things are irrelevent. The board is going to carry water (pun intended) for their masters…

        • You know I’m going to have to stop using the term crony for a day or two since you have now associated it with me. Can’t we even get a statement out of you like “enhance and enforce IID’s governance policy and keep the personal and political interests of IID board members and their special interests out of the IID business operation saving the IID ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars over time in lost, stolen and wasted financial resources”. Come on Charlie- we know you think that you still have to play the political float in the neighborhood but the 90% and our entire region needs an informed and proactive political savior here and now. Our poorest of the poor regions and the 90% fragmented majority needs an advocate. Stop all this vanilla talk Charlie and be the chosen!!

          • New Board….1% rate increase…where’s the over-charged mullah at…you messicun’s were had. That time change was endorsed by Tim Kelley…son of a ex-farmer probably trying to get back into the game. The only reason for the time change…to slow down Tony and Oscar. Were just Good Ole’ Boys, never meaning no harm…..I hope Galindo wakes up…SpyGate??????

  2. Is Dessert the new “Fall Guy”? Is the dude being used by the Ranchero’s to do the dirty work. His demeanor in that leader’s chair looked like he thought he was the Godfather. Hanks, Benson and Porky are up to someone and Dessert has been put in the lead. If looks count…Norma looks like a lost, famished chicken on that chair. Good Ole’ Boy’s back in charge 2012.

    • why not put your name calling and bigotry away for awhile? it does nothing to help move in a positive manner

      • I’ve been living long enough to understand how IID has worked and who really runs it. This is “The Mother of all Problems”. My opinion. So I’m assuming Dessert is moving in a positive manner. Open your eyes and face it. 2 weeks and it’s been all negative.

        • been around for a long time also and know how the iid works also. never have i cheered on any of the board members. i like homegirl believe in policy and following same. the Peter Principle is running the iid in many places. ego’s are the problem in others. competent persons and policys enforced by a real gm are needed desperately.

          we both want to fix the situation. the 3 minute rule is bad bad bad and i hope will bite them. 2 weeks isn’t enough time to do squat in any direction.

  3. Positive my arse. They had you fooled up until they got your vote and then they turned just like most liars do. 3 minute rule. Less work, more pay by way of cutting PUBLIC meeting. More money for Water…provided by you and me for the Farmers benefit. ran as a equal and ended up a maid! Your no Stella…that’s for sure. What type of benefits does Dessert get on that deal in which his land was involved? Good Ole’ Boy’s 2012 in charge.

    • 10-1 MD goes to the pokey before it is all over. Not as smart as the others to pull it off and needs it more….a careless combination. Time to call in the Feds?

  4. Agree that it will take several years to clean up HR & organizational problems. That’s why it is so important to follow the money! IID is broke and looking at rate hikes unless the budget is straightened out. You can’t keep robbing Peter to pay Paul to hide losses and overspending. CFO needs to quit budgeting with smoke & mirrors.

    • stop staffing with smoke and mirrors. Employment paperwork must be outsourced far from the Imperial Valley. Scream carpetbagger in whatever language one wants but it is the only solution to fix a corrupt system. Let us also remember hiring from mexico is a form of carpetbagging also.

      • Spot on Deserttrek- “carpetbagger” is a term used by advocates in whatever language defending the incompetent and corrupt IID crony business culture in order to defensively protect their turf. HR’s turf and trough first IID ratepayers last.

  5. Agree, Gobbledygook, this is a meeting to attend. It’s not all about the temporary jobs. What will it cost us in rates?

    Like your list Homegirl, but you left out Finance. The CFO has really done creative accounting and budgeting to cover up all the cover ups. Without a principled CFO IID will go off its own fiscal cliff.

    • Thanks Fred but we can’t do everything all at once we have to start with HR to get a tourniquet on the existing organizational cancer of the incompetent culture of cronyism. A smart GM will listen up for a while to understand how the numbers truly stack up in finance and size up the CFO. Then she or he will be able to effectively target the finance issues and define solutions. HR is an easier purge with a much much greater overall organizational impact. Once we create the HR clean up plan and start getting HR fixed- poop will start to look up pretty quickly. It is going to take a 5 year commitment for effective change to stick and to finally transform us from a culture of incompetent cronyism to a merit based business culture built upon performance and reward. It would be a fun, challenging and rewarding project turning the IID business organization into a cost effective public water and electric utility that delivers optimum value to its ratepayers and to the regional economy. Hope we get some kind of a miracle out of this new Board and not just the same old small minded ruckus and chaos. This poorest of the poor communities deserves a break and a brighter future.

      • Think big and think solutions Carlos- let go of the simple minded finger pointing, name calling and the “circus like atmosphere” of the past. It serves no productive purpose and is very typical of our exisitng incompetent crony culture here at IID.

  6. Should be interesting tomorrow to see how the “new board” handles the land use and transmission problems created by M/M/S & Kevin. How will they protect IID and not give away transmision and wheeling to San Diego for a few temporary jobs? Think we all should hear what they have to say.

  7. Wasn’t Garber’s job to control the cost of attorney’s – scope schedule and budget? Sounds pretty simple all right,Basil, but when did we ever hear what we were getting from attorneys and how much attorneys were earning from IID. Wouldn’t it be nice to know who got the hundreds of millions of dollars in attorney fees and what they actually delivered for those fees and expenses? Actually, it might not be so nice, as it would be to vent and again try to get a handle on for the future. What the heck has Garber done, but get involved where he shouldn’t have? Why would he do better elsewhere? Like Mario? Ugh!

  8. The problem at IID about using outside expetise is mainly that these contracts are not controlled that isn’t all that hard if you control the process. in fact, it is just common sense. By necessity you defne the SCOPE, BUDGET & SCHEDULE. SCOPE is just a full description of the project or task – what the contractor is goingt ot do – what is to be delivered. The fuller the description the fewer arguments, or claims when the work is done. BUDGET is simply a refined estimate of how much it ill cost. SCHEDULE is how much time or hours to complete and is obviously tied to the budget. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? We’ve learned how to do this at home or get burned. But at IID, other than capital projects, work is contracted all the time without these simple requirements. Why aren’t all contractors, including attorneys, required to complete a deliverable effort on time within budget?

    • Right on Basil- all consultants/contractors should be required to deliver a defined deliverable on time and within budget even if they have one of our $199,999 open ended service agreement specials. Each project under a consultant/contractors $199,999 open ended service agreement special should be defined, budgeted and delivered according to a schedule. If there is scope, budget or schedule creep you just deal with it but you know that it is happening and you are aware of costs whether they are going up or down. Simple stuff if you have standardized management processes and procedures- but we don’t. That is all part of the IID business optimization process that needs to happen when the new GM with business optimization and management skills and expertise is brought in.

      • A good part of the problem lies in the way we, the public, lect our Boards. We do not do a good job of examining their qualifications but tend to vote them in on whether or not we “like” them – popularity. Our local rag; (the IVMMP SuperPac) supported the IID Directors who directed advertising dollars their way, toadily violating ethical newspaper norms.
        I believe that this time around we voted for constructive change; for qualified individuals – or at least desparately needed change. Now we are all holding our breath.

  9. 5% chronically bad apples equals 65 petty tyrants. That is a lot of organizational cleansing. Who are we going to outsource HR to locally? You bring in outsourced HR support from over the hill and suddenly we have morons screaming carpetbagger this and carpetbagger that.
    An important component of building a future foundation of professional competence lies in an intelligent training and education policy toward exisitng staff and quality professional internship programs. The demographic/economic problem here is that our region suffers from what is called professional skills atrophy. It is prevelant in “special districts” located in sparsely populated areas. With 1300 plus employees IID has a uniquely king sized professional skills atrophy issue because we are a king sized special district in a sparsely populated rural area. Sustained staff training and education and sustained quality internship programs are a long term solution to this chronic professional resource and competency issue.

    • you might be a carpetbagger if….you dont live in the valley, you only work two days a week, one of those days is sitting in a board meeting, you get paid $200,000 to $300,000 a year, and you think your underpaid!

      • Yep good ole Mr. A. I think it was $300,000. He had more than enough intelligence, experience and skills to fix it but just not the commitment. His weekly visits got shorter and shorter. If we could have found him a pretty young girl friend he might have settled down and invested the time to really fix IID. Even Mario, after a bitch slap or two, performed very well under Mr. A’s tight rein.

          • Your problem General was that you were married and the head of a clandestine organization and didn’t have the integrity to obstain as a married man nor the skill not to get caught. Inebriated by your own power delusion- you no longer had the judgement or skill to lead the organization. So you did the last honorable thing you had left once you hit your dead end and you fell on your sword further perpetuating the country’s mis perception regarding your integrity.

      • you might be a carpetbagger if….. you hire consultants (friends and relatives) to do the work your being paid big bucks to do

        • carpetbagger- a noun- A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War seeking private gain….

          Many highly paid staff or “local carpetbaggers” or perhaps we should call them sandbaggers must use consultants to do the work they are being paid big bucks to do in part because of the very very short sighted policy regarding continuous staff education and training. Outsourcing to consultants can be very cost effective if scope and schedule are properly managed. Outsourcing to consultants is unpopular with those not in the know about technical or management expertise but is a necessity due to the regional professional skills atrophy. It is naive to think that someone like Jeff Garber could be transfered somewhere else within the organization for instance and be productive or cost effective. Simply throwing warm bodies around filling strategic/highly paid spaces has been an over practiced, bad and costly habit for 100 years.

          • Homie is so right on. When an area has regional professional skills atrophy, a solution is an internship program – however not one that is geared to providing jobs or summer jobs for favorite relatives and friends. these positions (internships) need to be reserved for those proven local talent and ties to Imperial County; that way they do not take the training and run – at least the possibility is less.
            When the IID does hire carpetbaggers, they need to work under the same salary structure as locals AND locate to Imperial County. They need to be vested in the community. Leaving for work in the wee hours of the morning does not make for an effective work day, nor do we benefit from consultants merely “working” one day a week. This practice was “toadily” ridiculous and idiotic!
            In an area that constantly runs a 30% unemployment rate, we constantly get the relatives and friends of management in key positions. This practice is pervasive in City, County, and our local IID. It was curious that IID trucks with Mendoza relatives often appeared at campaign events(I’m just sayin’. Therefore I agree that we absolutely need an independent HR, but not an outsourced one. Such an HR must strictly follow hiring guidelines – and not merely empoy mangement’s relatives or friends. We are the ratepayers – we deserve the best emplyees for our ratepayer dollars.

          • iid has rules for hiring and hr does not enforce them or they are redone to suit the moment. hiring must be independent of the iid, that is the only way to stop the ethnic bias, the family, church, school bias, and the help a friend out bias. too many good people have been rundown by the poor managment and outright corruption.

            the da should be banging on the doors and the perp walks started

  10. homegirl has the right ideas inmany ways. I do disagree in some areas.
    HR is beyond fixing in the employment group. It must be out sourced to an independent professional staffing firm. Proper qualifications for the positions must be derived, with no concern given to relatives, church, mexicali buddies etc. Sorry folks but meeting in spanish are ridiculous and detrimental to the IID.

    Governance governance governance

    Bring in a real GM who understands how to run a business and be a real administrator and leader.

    Major culture change. I do not agree with the 95%. Too many are too hooked in with the daily BS. It must start from the top with the petty tyrants dealt with in a public manner, within the law, as an example to all. The snarling little dogs like mario can be useful but must be held to a high standard of conduct and honesty.

    3 minutes? That is wrong wrong wrong

  11. Nice to see some new blog players-hopefully they are new IID Board members looking for real solutions. Unless this new IID Board turns out to be a miracle the IID will very likely continue down the same path with hundreds of millions of dollars of ratepayer funds lost, solen or wasted until a higher public authority intervenes similar to the Federal intervention with the New Orleans police department. If there is a miracle the solutions are-
    1) enhance and enforce IID’s governance policy putting a firewall between Board conflicts of interest and political corruption and the IID business operation
    2)eliminate Kevin Kelly and bring in a professional GM who has management expertise in compassionately cleaning up such a extensive business mess and who can effectively manage interaction with the Board
    3)Shake HR up and re organize it creating a new culture of enhanced and enforced structure, policy and procedure transforming the IID business culture from incompetent cronyism to one based upon merit and reward for performance. 45 currently staff HR it should be 25.
    4)dust off the very valuable management report with over 280 detailed recommendations for the optimization of the IID business enterprise, put together by IID business analysts and an outside consultant, and use it as a starting point and roadmap for the new Board and GM to begin the optimization of the business enterprise. No sense in paying 3 million dollars all over again for the same information.

    The IID can be fixed but it will take a miracle and a unified 5 year commitment approved by a unified IID Board in order for effective change to stick and finally become the new IID business culture. 95% of the IID staff and management want it and are loyal competent and committed IID employees.

  12. I’d like to hear what Homegirl,Homeboy, Arn,Peon, Deserttrek, Tom Follery, Insider and othr regulars writers have to say about the new board and what they should do to clean up so much corruption.Does even an honest board have a chance?

  13. Yah let’s clean up HR first. Basing on merit would a nice dhange. First you’d have to get some HR professionals & boot out Marcie first. What’s a yes man patsy? Do you really think that is Keven? What does Kevin know? How is he qualified to run IID? Is it who he knows? It sure isn’t what he knows!He’s sipposed to be a writer. Then there’s Garber. Without Menvielle where does he get his orders? Whose going to pay for Mendoza’s Dirty Martini’s? She may drt out and blow away.What does Mario Escalra do but bully rbryone? His reports are stupid.

    • Good call Pearl on several items. HR is a cesspool in several areas. The employment section must be closed and out sourced. That is the only way to assure competent literate employees. Rules are made up on a regular basis to benefit those with the right supporters.
      As for Kevin, he appears to be trying to do as the board wants which is exactly what should not be done. An administrator administers. No IID board since Chuck Shreeves was GM has wanted a real administrator and business person.

  14. Hey if you want to do genuflexions, you should go to Phil Swing School. sounds like they do that several times a day!

    • Sorry for the misspellings in my replies. I meant to state that the IVMMP SuperPac writes “idiotorials”, not “ediorials”. My bad. Oh darn, I still misspelled. (Or perhaps not!)

  15. Why should Kelley know how a business operates? He’s never worked in one before. He’s only been a writer, Nothing like starting right out managing a multi-billion dollar company! Do ya think, Homegirl?

    • Hey Fred: Delaney and the IVMMP SuperPac back Kelly 100%. And kelly and Menveille backed the IVMMP SuperPac 100%. It makes for a nice little daisy chain.

      For added benefit,Kelly and Menveille write their ediorials. Cozy isn’t it.

      BTW: Many thanks and genuflexions to The Desert New & Review for allowing us free speech. I have looked at the “Faceboo” in the IVMMP and no one is commenting. Now they are “reorganizing” and laying people off. What a coincidence!

    • I don’t think Fred….I know. The Board will keep Kevin only if they value an unqualified yes man/patsy over a professional who can transform and optimize the IID business culture. We will know very early on the dynamics of this new IID Board.

  16. The three minute rule is BS. Lame excuse given by the Lawyer. Dessert was behind this. Seems they cannot handle the questions Oscar and Tony bring up. Yep, the Good Old boy’s are dancing in heaven and in the resthomes.

    • I oftentimes agree with you. But Oscar is bonkers (pooer guy) and Tony is a one-trick poney (only Stella can save us – she must be free to go on junkets at our expense – so what if Mexican nationals drown in the All American!). Ok never mind – Tony is bonkers, too.

        • So, mi amoeba, you want them heard not for the substance of their spiels, but for their intertainment value?
          (Darn misspellings!)

          • They do have points and I see no others who are not connected with the Farmer’s agenda speaking up. They might not be Chavez or Corky but they do carry the same conviction in their hearts. Si Se Puede and Keep Hope Alive!

  17. Well if Kelly truly is interested in rooting out problems rather than ferreting out leaks by lifting the gag order on staff then his fate is sealed. Kevin truly knows how to play the political game and prolong his high salary but he is the anithesis of what is needed at the top leading and optimizing the IID business operation. Time to get a professional general manager that has the skills and experience to optimize the IID business operation transforming it from slow, reactive and losing ground to fast, proactive and gaining ground. It is going to be interesting to see how long the little guy can simply talk/bluff his way through and keep that fat paycheck coming in that he isn’t earning. He is a smooth talkin little con man and with him in charge of the business operation the IID is going nowhere.

    • Look uo Kevin Delly’s name in the dictionary and you will see a picture of that toadie from “Road Warrior.”

      He is now doing his best to toadie up to the current IID Board. He is toadily lacking in shame. We, the rate paying public, deserve better.

      BTW Homie: I hope you were not referring to Garber, Taylor, and Kelly – all toadies, as the ones with “experience” that we need to keep. Say it isn’t so!

  18. When is the truth going to come out about the Spyware emails? We know Kevin Kelley, Jeff Garber, Jean Pierre Menville and Brad Jennings colluded to ambush the Grand Jury Report and help Sanchez best Galindo. That is very serious as it exposes cheating and lies. Jennings was forced to resign and Menvielle has been beaten. Kelley & Garber have no place at IID either. Besides cheating they are not qualified.

    • Nothing gets investigated that politicans in power do not want investigated. Oftentimes they use law enforcement to selectively prosecute “crimes.” (Only in Imperial County.)
      What a coincidence that our local DA is related to a deposed IID director. Imagine that!

    • Yes. However, I am sure that you will concur that our local students who go away for their education and job experience are not carpetbaggers. Uner M&M, they were usually paid much less than the carpetbaggers. BTW: Good riddance to M&M.

    • Yeh right Anonymous and then watch ourselves bleed to death. The carpetbaggers that are left are the one’s with the very valuable expertise we especially don’t have. They currently act as catalysts barely holding this inefficient and backwards business operation together. Let’s clean up HR first creating a new and more solid business foundation. Let’s change the IID business culture from one of incompetent club cronyism to one based upon merit, competence and reward for performance. Think big ese not little.

      • You rock homie! However when we have educated accountants and auditors, as well as those with on-the-job training, it makes no sense to hire and retain someone lacking that training, education, and knowledge. That pserson was hired as a “metiche” and hatchet person and housed at one of the IID director’s domcile.
        There is conflict written all over this and that person has to go along with teh other toadies.
        Toadies are of ZERO value to any organization and the only master they truly serve is themselves.

  19. Three minutes huh? Does that go for people like Oscar and Tony? I’ve witness others (usually farmers or whites) get “extra” minutes.

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