Meet the Candidates: Ron Kicinski

IWV Water District

Meet the Candidates: Ron KicinskiRon Kicinski, an Indiana native, has lived in Ridgecrest with his wife Sharon Girod since 1987. He graduated from Indiana’s Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology before the oil industry brought him to California.

“I feel like I have an obligation to the community,” said Kicinski. “I’ve been here so long and it’s done so much for me.” He said he’s enjoyed serving through the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce and the Desert Empire Fair Board of Directors.

A professional engineer in four states, Kicinski left the oil industry for what is now Searles Valley Minerals where he worked for 10 years. He left the plant in the ‘90s to help take up his wife’s employment agency TOSS.

“We’re getting ready to retire, but we’re not leaving,” he said. “The Valley needs a future and needs to be able to continue to grow.”

Kicinski is currently wrapping up his first four-year term with the Water District board of directors.

“In the last four years I’ve brought something to the Water District with my engineering and project management background,” said Kicinski. “I created large budgets and had to stick to them – I definitely understand finances from small businesses to large.”

Kicinski said one of the district’s primary jobs will be “to limit the amount of augmented water the ratepayers have to pay for. Whether it’s wastewater treatment or a banking project – we need to leave no stone unturned.”

“Now that the replenishment fee is already in place, our role is to get control of the way finances are handled. Everything from a finance committee to specific budgets for administration, replenishment, planning – we’re going to be watching very closely that the money gets spent where it needs to be spent.”

Because the GA already passed the replenishment fee, Kicinski said trying to repeal it “is the wrong way to go. Groups need to get together and find the best way to bring water here.”

“I think there are a lot of angry people. I’m a bit upset – but instead of getting angry, what can we do now to make sure it stays above board and everybody understands everything.”

He said the GA needs to identify a viable project and lay it out clearly for residents of the valley.

“Where’s the budget? How is the water going to get here? The public deserves to know what this is going to cost now and what it’s going to cost in the future,” he said.

“I’m a proponent of bringing water from the North,” said Kicinski – the same place where the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gets its water. “But imagine how many lawyers [LADWP has] – if we enter an agreement with them, we’re going to have to be sharp as a tack in our dealings.

Kicinski hopes the Water District will “steer the GA in a way that is beneficial to our community with the understanding that there will be costs. But try to keep those costs minimal.”

Story First Published: 2020-10-16