By Jack King
The board of the Eastern New Mexico Rural Water Authority has begun the process of hiring a director for the Ute Reservoir pipeline project.
A search committe will publish a request for proposals for the job next week with a deadline to receive applications of Aug. 1.
The committee will make recommendations at an Aug. 20 board meeting and the board will interview candidates at a special meeting in late August or early September, members said.
The search committee is composed of Clovis Mayor David Lansford, board members Darrell Bostwick of Melrose and Calvin Litchfield of Tucumcari, Doug Murray of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and Miguel Rocha of the Bureau of Reclamation.
Scott Verhines of The Louis Berger Group Inc., an Albuquerque engineering firm that has been helping write the authority’s conceptual design report, suggested the board might want to hire a firm that could offer a package of services, managing the project as well as providing engineering and environmental protection services.
But Murray said the authority should hire an individual, because he or she would be more accountable to the board. Also, several people in the audience, including Marsha Carra, an environmental protection specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation, and engineers from Boyle Engineering Corporation and CH2MHill Engineering, said having the same company do engineering and environmental services could lead to real or perceived conflicts of interest.
Elsewhere, the ENMRWA protested the reallocation by the Bureau of Reclamation of $250,000, the full amount of the bureau’s fiscal year 2002-2003 contribution to the ENMRWA.
Lansford said Wednesday he has sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, asking his help in having the reallocation reviewed.
Miguel Rocha, a planning team member with the Bureau of Reclamation, said the ENMRWA still has $400,000 from previous allocations and the bureau felt it would not spend the $250,000 this year.
Rocha said that, since 1998 the bureau has allocated $1.3 million to the Ute Lake water distribution project, approximately $400,000 of which has been spent on engineering services.
“We still need that money,” Lansford replied.