Traveling Retiree Fishing in Alaska


There is nothing more relaxing than getting away from it all and doing a bit of fishing, a true distraction that clears the mind. To really clear my mind and focus on the big catch, I purged my mind of the multiple thoughts that had built up over the several days preceding my trip to Alaska. For example, prior to leaving California, I read with interest that IID Energy has returned to local control of daily operations. I thought IID has shown a way to rebound from poor management and director oversight before, and I’m hopeful this will happen again.

Processing this thought further I said, “wait a minute”. Was selecting the Acting Energy Manager a step in the right direction? He is educated as an electrical engineer (don’t believe has P.E.) with supervisory experience, and from personal dealings on IT he got things done.  But, is his engineering knowledge enough to overcome a perception of cronyism for allegedly putting employees on the shelf who are not part of a circle of friends referred to as the “posse”? To solve and heal a depleted Energy Department, he will need wholehearted employee support and I hope he rises to the challenge. On the positive side, he will be working with an exceptionally experienced CFO who understands IID financial requirements, as well as regulatory policies, and the need for checks & balances to help keep IID from unforeseen financial problems.

When it comes down to it, who else does IID have to succeed the ousted ex-SMUD group? IID management faces severe obstacles from the gutting of IID registered Professional Engineers (PE’S), the retirement of so many energy employees, and competitors eagerly filling senior positions, like General Manager, Vice President, Executive Vice President of Operations, and Engineering Manager with talented IID leaders. Add a cross section of employees who retired early ranging from Linemen to Contract Specialist , and Training Floor Supervisor, there is a huge experience void.

Still processing my thought further, on top of this , the return to cronyism and corruption created silos that have resulted in information voids of the late 90’s, making it difficult to manage. What is the General Manager thinking? Why has he ousted the SMUD departees?  Off the top of my head I wonder. Is it fear of the FERC investigation? Is it the investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission? Is it the financial exposure of the natural gas take-or-pay deal?

The resolve that I reached here in the scenic Alaskan wilderness is that it’s a shame the General Manager and Board let the company regress by being duped once again by the promises of outsiders, who have “milked the IID cash cow” at the expense of the Imperial Valley residents. And the General Manager can’t fade the heat from the farmers and ratepayers much longer. In fact, a grand jury might be in order to resolve the alleged conflicts of interest, including “Fox in the henhouse”, Working Both Sides of the Street” and “Hiring/Promotion of Relatives”. As Shorty said, ” If it quacks like a duck…”

IID,  seemingly a public monopoly, has overcome many setbacks and will likely survive this one, too. But, how efficient and cost effective will it be?. Will it provide long-term career positions for Imperial Valley residents? And, will it continue to provide financial stability for the county, as well as low cost water & energy?

Now that I’ve  cleared my mind, I’m going back out and concentrate on catching the next 40 lb King Salmon.

Signed, Arn Lahde
Kenai River, AK