Water board selects Kicinski as GSA rep

Water board selects Kicinski as GSA repBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Indian Wells Valley Water District board of directors voted Monday to appoint Director Ron Kicinski as representative to the IWV Groundwater Authority. The board also welcomed new directors David Saint-Amand, who was selected to be Kicinski’s alternate on the multi-agency Authority board, and Stan Rajtora.

The vacancy surfaced when neither Authority representative Peter Brown nor his alternate representative Chuck Griffin were reelected. Kicinski will also act as Authority chair for the year of 2019.

Members of the public commented both during the Water District meeting and last month’s Ridgecrest City Council meeting that Groundwater Authority representation played a pivotal role in this year’s election. While Kicinski ultimately received the nomination, several members of the public came with strong endorsements for Rajtora.

“Stan has been to all of the GA meetings,” said member of the public Judie Decker. “He’s the only one of you that’s also been to practically all of the Technical Advisory Committee and Policy Advisory Committee meetings.

“While he’s new to the water district board, he has been on other boards and knows board procedure. I strongly recommend that he is your rep on the GA board.”

Rajtora has attended and spoken at most city and water meetings for the last several years and was involved during the formation of the IWVGA’s bylaws when they were written in 2016.

“The gentleman has put in hundreds of hours of his own time,” said Mike Neel during public comment. “Never elected, just did it because he cares what’s going on here. He’s been to all the meetings and he doesn’t just sit and listen to what’s being spoon fed to the public.”

Local resident Sam Merk said that Rajtora “does his research and he’s not afraid to correct numbers.”

Others came out in support of Water District Board President Don Cortichiato as representative with Rajtora as an alternate.

“I would like to encourage the board to have some diversification on the GA,” said Griffin during public comment. “Two opinions are better than the same opinion. Don has always done a good job controlling the meetings and Stan has been to every meeting since before this was even introduced.”

Larry Mead seconded Griffin’s recommendation and said that GA representation was “what the election was all about.”

“It’s time to take a new approach and look at this thing from a business standpoint,” he said.

David Janiec, who is also a member of the GA’s Policy Advisory Committee, recommended Kicinski for the position for “continuity” reasons.

“Ron has been to many of the meetings as well,” said Janiec. “It’s important we have some continuity. There are heavy negotiations this group is going to have to work on for the next year … those relationships are key. I would strongly recommend that Ron is the best choice to lead the GA next year.”

Cortichiato made the motion for Kicinski to serve as GA representative, which was unanimously approved by the board. Cortichiato also suggested Saint-Amand as alternate for his connections with the base as an employee of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division.

Saint-Amand accepted the nomination, but said it would be pending approval since the Department of the Navy also has a nonvoting representative on the IWVGA.

Director Chuck Cordell suggested that Rajtora serve as the alternate given his experience and interest in the issue.

“I did work 36 years for the Navy,” added Rajtora. “I feel that I still know and understand what is going on. And I don’t know that it’s that important that you be an active employee to be an alternate.”

The board voted on Cortichiato’s motion for Saint-Amand as alternate, which passed 3-2 with Rajtora and Cordell voting “no.”

Story First Published: 2018-12-14