At 11 am this morning, three Klamath Irrigation District (KID) Patrons delivered petitions signed by dozens of KID customers in support of recalling three board members currently be investigated by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
In what may be the first recall of its kind in Oregon history, KID irrigators Ed Bair, Jason Chapman and Ross Fleming went above and beyond the number of patron signatures required by law to trigger the recall votes. Concerns over the secretive nature of their decision-making process, the departure of several long-time employees and the out-of-control legal budget along with the ethics investigation are helping drive the recall effort against Chairman Cheyne, Vice Chairman Knoll and Director Smith.
Also pushing the recall effort is the nearly-botched C-Flume contract process. Earlier this year, KID patrons voted 95% in favor of moving forward on the process of repairing the crumbling C Canal Flume. However, the “majority faction” of the KID Board of Directors fell in line with the delay tactics of New York City attorney Lawrence Kogan. After months of ignoring the wishes of patrons and avoiding public meetings, Chairman Cheyne reluctantly signed the paperwork. To make matters worse, the Board following Kogan’s delay ploy has now caused the project to take two growing seasons instead of one, likely unnecessarily increasing the cost of the C Flume project. After $130,000 in fees paid to Mr. Kogan, not a word of the contract was changed.
“Brent Cheyne, Grant Knoll, and Ken Smith, after seven destructive months of service, can now be recalled from the KID board of directors,” added Mr. Bair. “If successful, the remaining KID board members can appoint competent, reasonable and accessible patrons to serve until new board members are elected to serve out the remainder of the terms for the recalled members. The new KID board can quickly take constructive actions to right the ship and get KID back to doing what it is intended to do: safely and efficiently deliver water to KID patrons who so desperately need it.”
Another concern to KID patrons is the lack of leadership in finding a new manager for the irrigation district. Interim manager Hollie Cannon stepped down on July 31, and since then the Board of Directors has not found a new manager. Instead, without being directed to, assistant manager Darren Kandra has stepped up into the role. Add this to the fact the two out-of-town attorneys hired by the KID Board also have Oregon Bar Complaints filed against them, there are many KID patrons that are not happy with the leadership provided by Cheyne, Knoll and Smith.
To learn more about the signatures getting filed, please read the press release, “KID Recall Signatures Delivered to District Office”.