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Barragán Urges Transparency and a Thorough Process in Hiring of Water Replenishment District Management

By December 3, 2020 No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2020

 

Lakewood, Calif. – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán urged transparency and a thorough process as the Water Replenishment District of Southern California considered a potential action to install new management at WRD.

 

Congresswoman Barragán called into WRD’s Board meeting and read a letter she sent to WRD’s Board of Directors.

 

WRD’s actions risk “not identifying suitable candidates with the proper background and expertise to address the critical issues that come before the Board. The process to replace the retiring General Manager should be public and completely transparent. The public must have certainty that the Board is acting in the best interest of those that they serve and short-circuiting a traditional search process may damage that level of trust,” Congresswoman Barragán said.

 

“I hope you reconsider this action to allow the public more time to review the candidates for these positions and allow the recruitment firm to conduct a thorough search. It is imperative that the firm identifies and the Board considers all candidates who have the necessary experience and expertise to handle the challenging decisions that come before the WRD of Southern California,” Barragán said.

 

 

Full text of the Congresswoman Barragán’s letter is below:

 

December 3, 2020

Board of Directors
Water Replenishment District of Southern California
4040 Paramount Blvd.
Lakewood, CA, 90712

 

Dear Honorable Board Members:

 

I write in regard to the selection process for WRD’s General Manager and Assistant General Managers. I am concerned that the Board is not considering a traditional and transparent process in searching for and selecting its managers. In doing so, the Board also risks not identifying suitable candidates with the proper background and expertise to address the critical issues that come before the Board.

 

The process to replace the retiring General Manager should be public and completely transparent. The public must have certainty that the Board is acting in the best interest of those that they serve – and short-circuiting a traditional search process may damage that level of trust. While we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the County’s new Safer at Home Order, the public’s attention is rightfully focused on their protection and safety and that of their families – and this rushed process will only stand to further erode the public’s trust as they will not have had adequate time to engage. An open and transparent hiring process is critical to maintain the public’s trust in the Board and to ensure an orderly and proper transition.

 

It is also concerning that the new General Manager position is a conditional hiring, subject to the hiring of a specified Assistant General Manager within 48 hours. The public needs time to examine the qualifications of the candidates for these positions and have the ability to communicate their concerns to the WRD. It is also my understanding that the Board already hired a recruitment firm to conduct a search for candidates – this also leads to concerns about funds already expended and raises questions as to what circumstances led to this change to no longer use a recruitment firm.

 

The WRD of Southern California has a good reputation, and I have appreciated your commitment to clean and affordable water as we’ve worked together on securing federal funding for critical projects.

 

To maintain that reputation, I hope you reconsider this action to allow the public more time to review the candidates for these positions and allow the recruitment firm to conduct a thorough search. It is imperative that the firm identifies and the Board considers all candidates who have the necessary experience and expertise to handle the challenging decisions that come before the WRD of Southern California.

 

Sincerely,

Nanette Diaz Barragán
Member of Congress

 

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Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington