CCWD budget extra tricky

April 09, 2003 11:00 pm

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Nearing the end of its fiscal year, Calaveras County Water District has no finance director, budget director or a new budget.

The district lost its two main finance executives in March when Jim Deaton, budget and finance manager, and Julie McManus, finance director, left for other jobs. Both had been with the district for about six years.

With the June 30 end of the fiscal year less than three months away, CCWD General Manager John Stewart is suggesting the district's 2002-03 budget be rolled over and serve as a temporary guideline for 2003-04, saying the district would come up with a "tuned up" version of the actual budget quickly.

"This is a fairly common practice. It gives you a spending plan based upon the previous year's budget," he said.

At yesterday's CCWD board meeting, Stewart described the rollover concept and the steps he's taking to hire new finance officials.

He said Vallecito-based private accountant Bob Watson, a certified public accountant who works as a company consultant, had worked with Deaton in the past preparing budgets for the district and is helping CCWD compile information for the 2003-04 budget.

Stewart said he wants to hire retired finance director Rudy Hernandez, of Atascadero, through the League of California Cities Circuit Rider Program, as an interim district finance director until a permanent one is hired.

"We're looking for him to spend two to three months with us — just as long as it takes to get a careful recruitment and selection process done," Stewart said.

He said the advertising, application screening and interviews take time and he sees the search as critically important. He said the district would only recruit one finance executive at this time.

He's looking for someone to help the district evaluate whether reorganization is needed. Turnover, while difficult, can also lead to positive change, he said.