EL CENTRO â€“ At the regular meeting of the IID Board of Directors Tuesday, July 9, Director James Hanks commented on the retention of the two communications and public outreach firms that were approved at the June 25th meeting of the Board of Directors.
As a part of the 2013 Program of Work adopted by the Board earlier this year, IID General Manager Kevin Kelley brought to the Board APCO Worldwide, Inc. and Diversity consulting Group to assist the District on matters related to the Quantification Settlement Agreement water transfer and Salton Sea mitigation and restoration initiative for a six-month engagement agreement for a total cost of $310,000.
â€œQuestions were raised at the last board meeting regarding the engagement by the General Manager of two outside communications firms to assist IID with the QSA litigation and the Salton Sea Renewables Initiative,â€ said Hanks. â€œJust to make sure the record is clear; I want the public to understand that these two firms were retained on a project basis and for a six-month period. In the case of APCO, the General Manager believed, and the Board concurred, that IID needed a Sacramento based firm with extensive and wide-ranging experience in the energy and public policy arena. With the Diversity firm, the focus is more localized and has mainly to do with outreach and coalition-building, in English and Spanish, in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys.â€
â€œTheir joint charge is to build public awareness, recognition, and ultimately, acceptance of what IID is attempting to do at the Salton Sea, which is to utilize the systematic development of renewable energy assets in and around the Salton Sea as a long-term funding mechanism for the restoration of the sea,â€ continued Hanks. â€œI see their role as being seamlessly integrated into the QSA litigation strategy and, in fact, what qualifies both of these communications firms in my mind – and what sets them apart â€“ is their experience in working with complex litigation. There is no litigation I am aware of that is as complex as the Quantification Settlement Agreement. For this reason, I see this outside communications function as an extension of our QSA litigation team and I expect it to add real value in the weeks and months to come.â€