© 2014 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana

On Tuesday May 27, 2014, commissioners from the Flathead, Mission and Jocko Districts of the Flathead Irrigation Project met and voted to approve a contract that would serve to reunite the districts under the Flathead Joint Board of Control.  This action was made possible because of the successful recall campaign in the Mission District that was held earlier this month, and the replacement of a Jocko District commissioner in the recent irrigation district elections.

This move ends months of controversy created last year when two commissioners each from the Mission and Jocko Districts collapsed the Joint Board of Control in December 2013 in an effort to gain some momentum for the Irrigator Water Use Agreement and Water Compact.

The newly united board of control promptly moved to vote to approve a comprehensive set of new by-laws, sending a strong message to irrigators that the board intends to move forward productively, quickly and efficiently.

NOW THE REAL WORK BEGINS

It is going to take some time for the board and districts to untangle and sort through the legal and financial mess created by the actions of four men, but efforts are underway to do just that.  Not only did these men rack up significant legal bills, but their actions set off a chain of legal challenges and lawsuits that will need to be addressed as quickly as possible.

On top of the list are three huge issues that are the direct result of the actions of these four commissioners:

  1. the BIA takeover of project operations,
  2. the CSKT lawsuit,
  3. the water use agreement which at this very moment is being inserted into the compact without the approval or participation of irrigators

This is tall order for any group of individuals to deal with.  For that reason it is more important than ever to ensure that the team works together to focus on the issues that must be addressed and not get sidetracked with other incidental issues.  Institutional knowledge brings stability for dealing with future problems and until this organization has its operations completely up and running, now is not the time for any rash decisions or changes.

We will keep you updated in the coming months as we receive word about the board dealing with these issues.

IRRIGATION COMMISSIONERS

Here is a list of the commissioners of the newly formed Flathead Joint Board of Control:

Flathead Irrigation District:

Wayne Blevins       644-2309
Trent Coleman       883-0245
Paul Guenzler        741-3647
Shane Orien          676-2019
Bruce White          644-2707

Mission Irrigation District:

Jerry Laskody        745-0550
Tim Orr                 544-0415
Gene Posivio          396-7543

Jocko Irrigation District:

Boone Cole            544-5395
Kerry Doney          726-3356
John Trimble         544-6447

MEMBER AT LARGE

One of the first tasks to be considered at the first regular meeting of the Joint Board, will be selecting a MEMBER AT LARGE to round out the 12 member board.

DISTRICT AND NON-DISTRICT IRRIGATORS –  If you are interested in suggesting a nominee for the Member at Large position, please contact any or all of the commissioners to express your view or to offer your suggestions, or you can also weigh in by calling the Joint Board Office directly at 745-2090.

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