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Groveland Community Services District Board In Flux

Groveland, CA — The joint departure of two directors has left a gaping hole in the board of a Mother Lode utilities district in the midst of apparently challenging times ahead.

According to Groveland Community Services District (GCSD) officials, the three remaining at-large members are seeking to shortly fill by appointment both seats. Board Vice President Maureen Griefer and Director Nicholas Stauffacher formally resigned their positions in a letter that they coauthored and sent to Board President Bob Swan at the district office.

The Sept. 14 communication, obtained by Clarke Broadcasting, outlines three primary reasons for Griefer’s and Stauffacher’s decision to depart. These suggest a deep split in opinions as to how the district’s business should be run. The letter refers to what they call unprofessional dealings over a non-fruitful $25,000 recruitment process for a new district general manager to replace Jon Sterling, who is set to retire at the end of the year. Griefer and Stauffacher also call out a specific but unnamed director for “out of control” bad behavior and temper tantrums at public and staff meetings that they say continue to disable due order and decorum.

The two also raise concerns about public scrutiny and creating a lot of unhappy customers over an impending rate increase scheduled to kick in early next year. Accusing the board of dragging its feet to do the necessary public outreach, they pointed to a lack of printed materials and no yet scheduled workshop or public meeting dates. Calls to Swan and Stauffacher from Clarke Broadcasting about these latest developments were not returned. Griefer’s husband indicated that she was en route to visit family out of town and, when possible, would respond.

Board Plans, Moving Forward

Stauffacher was appointed to a term set to expire in Nov. 2018; Griefer was elected to serve through Nov. 2020. The board currently plans to make two appointments and have those new members serve out the term of the director they are chosen to replace. GCSD, a public agency, provides water, wastewater, parks and fire services to the communities of Big Oak Flat and Groveland, including Pine Mountain Lake and area to the east of Groveland. Directors are expected to attend regularly scheduled board meetings, which are held on the second Monday of each month, generally beginning at 10 a.m.; also to serve on committees and attend special board meetings.

Prospective candidates must be registered to vote within the district and live within its service area. The application process includes filling out a form, available at the district office (18966 Ferretti Road), and submitting with it a resume and letter of interest explaining the reasons for applying along with useful skill sets and experience. Applications are being accepted until Friday, Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. Submissions may be made in person at the  district office, by mail or email. The GCSD mailing address is P.O. Box 350, Groveland, CA 95321. Email jflores@gcsd.org. Application forms may additionally be downloaded from GCSD’s website by clicking here.

At this point, the board plans to interview the qualifying candidates at a special public meeting on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. that will be held at the Groveland Community Hall. Officials state that members of the public will have an opportunity to question the candidates on relevant issues.