The Capistrano Beach County Water District Board of Directors this week hired the Meadows Consulting Group to act as its interim general manager, replacing ousted Dennis A. Erdman.
The directors voted 3-2 Tuesday night to sign the consulting group to a three-month contract for about $5,000 a month. Directors Addison DeBoi and Kenneth Lawrence cast the dissenting votes.
The principals of the consulting group are T.J. Meadows and his son, Bill. T.J. Meadows is the former director of public works for the city of San Juan Capistrano and the current general manager of the San Juan Basin Authority.
Bill Meadows is a former South County newspaper reporter who now works as a water management consultant in Orange and San Diego counties.
"They are local, and they are totally aware of local issues, not only pertaining to water, but the local problems we face," said Director Jim Hayton. "Now we have some people I believe are up to speed on what the district needs to get back on course, after all the ruckus."
The firing of Erdman last March touched off a controversy in the small district, which serves about 21,000 customers in the Capistrano Beach area of Dana Point, Dana Point Harbor and a small part of north San Clemente. Erdman's backers, who included DeBoi, have launched a recall drive of two directors--Hayton and Bonnie Streeter.
After receiving a written complaint from Erdman, the Orange County Grand Jury has entered the fray surrounding the district. The grand jury recently questioned all five directors, although it has not revealed the focus of its inquiry.
Because of the controversy, the first interim general manager the board hired in March resigned shortly after taking office.
DeBoi, who has charged that his colleagues have violated public meeting laws by making secret agreements to hire a manager, was also critical of the hiring of the Meadows group. He said the board majority has known for weeks who they wanted, and a recent interview process of eight potential managers was only a charade.
"They met and decided a month ago that they would hire Meadows," DeBoi said. "And now it comes true. My problem with (Streeter and Hayton) and (Director) Ross Carpenter is that they can't seem to abide by the rules."