Transparency, accountability, efficiency and good policy choices are essential to earning the public's trust and making government work effectively. As such, Yorba Linda Water District (YLWD) is actively pursuing accreditation by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF). The SDLF is an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote good governance and best practices among California's special districts through certification, accreditation and other recognition programs. The SDLF and its activities are supported by the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) and the Special District Risk Management Authority.
In November, YLWD Board President, Bob Kiley, Board Vice President, Ric Collett, and General Manager, Marc Marcantonio became the three newest YLWD graduates of the CSDA Special District Leadership Academy. Director Gary Melton graduated from the Academy in 2012.
The Special District Leadership Academy provides a curriculum-based program for board members and general managers in good governance. Participants must complete four courses to be recognized by the Special District Leadership Academy. The modules cover topics on effective leadership skills and team building strategies.
Graduation is designed to honor special district board members and trustees, and is comprised of two distinct parts: the completion of the Special District Leadership Academy and 10 hours of continuing education. SDLF has endorsed the Academy as the core special district governance training in California.
With the knowledge and tools acquired in the program, YLWD is better equipped to provide the community with quality and reliable services.
With the state in the midst of a water crisis, California voters will consider a $7.5 billion water bond this November. The Yorba Linda Water District Board of Directors voted unanimously to support the Water Bond, which will appear on the ballot as Proposition 1 - The Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Act of 2014. Prop 1 comes after five years of retooling in the Legislature.
This bond, if approved, contains $7.1 billion of new debt and $425 million of repurposed bond funds previously approved by voters.
The big question… Where would the money go? The $7.5 billion dollar pie will be sliced several ways to provide funding for new much needed water storage projects, watershed protection, sustainable groundwater management and cleanup, water recycling – including desalination projects, water conservation and water use efficiency projects, statewide flood management, and safe drinking water.
It should be noted that Proposition 1 has nothing to do with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, nor the much discussed Delta Tunnels. And while Prop 1 won’t help with the current drought, nor will it guarantee against water rationing during future droughts, the projects it would fund would provide a greater cushion when we find ourselves dealing with prolonged water shortages in the future.
In recognition of its efforts to promote transparency and good governance, Yorba Linda Water District (YLWD) has been awarded the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF).
“Public service and transparency should go hand-in-hand,” said YLWD Board President, Bob Kiley, who accepted the award on behalf of the District. “YLWD goes the extra mile to ensure that District business is open and clear to the public we serve and that information is easily and readily available to anyone who is interested.”
To be considered for the award a special district must demonstrate the completion of at least eight essential governance transparency requirements, including conducting ethics training for all board members, properly conducting open and public meetings, and filing financial transactions and compensation reports to the State Controller in a timely manner. YLWD also fulfilled fifteen website requirements including providing readily available information to the public including: board agendas, past minutes, current district budget and the most recent financial audit. Finally, the District must demonstrate outreach to its constituents that engages the public in its governance through a regular direct newsletter and special community engagement project.
He had barely unpacked his suitcase before coming to work at the crack of dawn on his first day as new General Manager of Yorba Linda Water District. It’s been a busy first week for Andrew Marcantonio, who goes as “Marc”. He officially started as YLWD GM on September 3rd. He has been ushered from one meeting to the next, introduced to employees and representatives from other Orange County water agencies and cities ever since.
“It’s a bit overwhelming but exciting at the same time,” says Marcantonio. “It’s been a flurry of new faces and names. But that comes with being the new guy, from out of town.”
While it’ll take some time for him to get to know the players and the acronyms, Marcantonio is no stranger to Orange County having lived here for 13 of his 23 years of service in the U.S. Army, where he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. His distinguished military career in many vast leadership roles made him the unanimous choice of the YLWD Board of Directors for the appointment.
“He knows the water business but the thing that’s most impressive about Marc, he’s a natural leader,” said Board President Bob Kiley. “We as a Board look forward to him leading this District and taking us to the next level.”
Marcantonio is the first YLWD GM to be hired from outside of the District in more than 20 years - far outside, actually. Marcantonio drove down Labor Day weekend from his home in the state of Washington. He brings with him a dozen years of water utilities management, heading up Mt. View-Edgewood Water Company. While water politics in California are a different beast than in Washington, where water supply is abundant, Marcantonio promises to be a quick study. He also leaves as President of the Regional Water Cooperative of Pierce County, an association of 25 water and wastewater agencies in the Greater Seattle Area.
“Yorba Linda Water District is an agency with exciting opportunities, and I am proud to be a part of the team,” said Marcantonio. “I look forward to working together with the Board of Directors, staff, and the broader community for the benefit of our customers.”
After retiring from the Army, Marcantonio worked as a Fisheries Biologist. He is also a professional fisherman and outdoor writer. It’s a welcome return home for his wife Roe, a native of La Habra. Their daughter lives here as well.
“This is where we wanted to be. This is where our family is. We have good friends here. This will feel like home very fast.”