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Wednesday, Feb 12 2014 06:00 AM

Bear Valley CSD has interim GM

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Larry Pennell is the interim general manager for the Bear Valley Community Services District.

Fiscal review, water conservation plans underway

Bear Valley Springs Community Services District has a new interim general manager.

On Jan. 27, Larry Pennell took the helm as interim GM for the district as the CSD's board continues its search for someone to take over the position long-term.

The board is currently using the services of BHI, a management consulting firm based out of Tracy. The entire process could take four to five months, Pennell said.

With an extensive background in management and public service, Pennell said he is happy to serve as a bridge between former and future management.

He served as the city manager of Wasco for 13 years and as general manager of the South Placer Municipal Utility District near Sacramento.

Although Penn says he started in late January, President Bill Mason told the Tehachapi News that no official contract has been signed.

Board member Charlene LeClaire said there was a "technicality" with the contract that will be sorted out at the board's upcoming meeting.

Pennell said some of his current duties have included budget preparation.

"I want to provide the board with an update on where we are financially based on thorough fiscal analysis, so we have a good handle on our spending and revenue trends," he said. "I want to make sure our budget remains balanced."

Pennell also hopes to address ways residents can cut back on their water consumption as California continues to battle the repercussions of an ongoing drought.

"Virtually all of our water is groundwater," he said. "As the drought persists, the water table is dropping and we need to respond accordingly."

The board has yet to take action on addressing new conservation efforts, but Pennell said the staff is to recommend that the CSD adopt a voluntary 20 percent water conservation goal for Bear Valley Springs residents.

BVSCSD staff has assembled a list detailing ways residents can easily reduce water consumption, Pennell said.

"The board is very supportive and cordial," he said. "It's a great opportunity for me to practice my position."

Former General Manager Jeff Hodge, who served the district for almost a year, resigned in early January because of ongoing disagreements between management staff and the board.

The Bear Valley Springs CSD's next board meeting is slated for Thursday, Feb. 13, at the district's headquarters, 28999 S. Lower Valley Road.

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