Board dismisses district manager of Arch Hurley Consevancy District

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The board of the Arch Hurley Conservancy District agreed Tuesday to dismiss district manager Wayne Cunningham in a closed executive session.

None of the board members offered an explanation for the action after the meeting.

Cunningham, who serves on Gov. Bill Richardson’s Blue Ribbon Water Committee, has been manager of the district since 2002. His termination is effective Aug. 31.

Board members Tom Bruhn and Larry Perkins were selected to serve as a search committee for a new district manager.

The board met for its regular meeting and Cunningham’s termination agreement was on the agenda as an item for a closed session.

However, prior to the closed executive session, several audience members addressed the board members about its proposal to terminate Cunningham.

George Evetts wondered what Cunningham did wrong.
“We’ve probably got the worst district in the state. We’ve spent three years arguing among ourselves. We’ve got a lot of talent on the board,” said Evetts, noting that Cunningham also was talented.

He added the window was still partially open, meaning the board did not have to act on the termination agreement, and suggested the board describe the director’s goals and make the director accountable.

“Please do not accrue any more costs to the district,” Pete Tatschl said. “I’d like the board to do the right thing … and the right thing for this district. We should be saving money, like we’re conserving water.”

Cunningham was not available after the meeting for comment and did not return calls.

    In other business:

  • The board agreed to adopt a resolution to approve the reclassification of 50 acres for irrigation, as long as certain conditions were met and approved by the mortgage holder.
  • Board member David Foote introduced a discussion about the possibility of an upcoming water allocation. It was agreed that the margin between rainfall and the current allocations was too slim. Franklin MacCasland said when that margin widened, the board could call a special meeting and increase the allocation.