From the Dec. 5, 2012 edition
By Jack Durham
While most McKinleyville projects are proceeding full steam ahead, some are being slowed down or put on hold following the death of McKinleyville Community Services District Manager Norman Shopay.
The MCSD Board of Directors discussed the projects at a special meeting Tuesday, Nov. 27. The board had directed staff to prepare a list of projects shortly after Shopay’s unexpected death on Nov. 10 of an apparent heart attack.
Interim Manager Greg Orsini and his staff are on schedule with projects such as the design of a teen center, creation of a MCSD strategic plan, LED streetlight conversion and purchase of a park property on Washington Avenue.
Projects that have been slowed are employee contract negotiations, the replacement of old water meters with “smart” electronic meters, the development of a new riverside park off North Bank Road and the acquisition of property for a new water tank.
There are four projects that have been temporarily suspended. One is the hiring of a district engineer. It’s not exactly clear why the district needed an engineer, but not hiring one will save the district about $127,000 a year.
Another idea that Shopay had was to erect a “Welcome to McKinleyville” sign somewhere in the district. There was no budget or design for the sign; it was just an idea, and now it’s suspended.
According to Interim Manager Greg Orsini, Shopay had a vision for McKinleyville’s town center. It was a rough idea that hadn’t been brought to the board yet.
One project included building new offices for the MCSD, although where these offices would be located isn’t clear. The project, with an estimated price tag of $325,000, is suspended.
Another project was the purchase of property on Gwin Road for unknown reasons. That project is suspended.
At last week’s special meeting, the board also discussed planning for how to fill the manager position.
Interim Manager Orsini will work with Brent Ives of BHI Consulting to development several options for the board to consider. Ives will be paid no more than $4,700, including travel expenses, for his assistance.
Sometime in early January, the manager options will be brought before the Board of Directors for consideration.
Ives is already working with the district on the creation of an overall strategic plan. According to Orsini, a succession plan will be included in that plan so that the district has something to follow in the event that it finds itself suddenly without a manager in the future.