Longbottom retires, departs from GSA

Longbottom  retires, departs  from GSACommander Brian Longbottom (second from right) bids farewell to fellow IWVGA Boardmembers Bob Page, Mick Gleason, Peggy Breeden and Peter Brown at the last meeting — Photo by Laura Austin



News Review Staff Writer

Cmdr. Brian Longbottom attended his last meeting as the Navy’s representative on the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority last week. As of Monday, Longbottom had retired as Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake’s public works officer.

Though not a voting member of the board, Longbottom kept a critical eye on the Plan of Action and Milestones, which tracked the Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s progress.

Adherence to plans of action has become something he is known for on and off the base.

He joked that he was given the pilot call sign “POA&M” by his co-workers, despite not actually being a pilot.

“I’m retiring,”said Longbottom. “It’s a hard decision, but now that I’m getting closer I know it’s the right decision.”

Longbottom said he came here on three-year orders but had his assignment extended by a year because he fell in love with the community. He has since moved off base to purchase a home and plans to transition to a civilian job in the community.

“This is a big deal,” he said of groundwater sustainability efforts. “Probably one of the largest deals this community has ever faced and may ever face again. The board’s not going to do it alone. If we don’t all do this together, we’re going to fail together.

“It warms my heart to see the public here. And it warms my heart to see all the passions come out.”

He recognized Kern County 1st District Supervisor Mick Gleason and the rest of the GSA board for their efforts as well as Water Resources Managers Steve Johnson and Jeff Helsley of Stetson Engineers and IWV Water District Manager Don Zdeba.

Longbottom’s replacement is Cmdr. Pete Benson, who will take over for the GSA’s October meeting.

Story First Published: 2018-09-28