by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun
The Board of the Arch Hurley Conservancy District selected ditch rider and
foreman Mark Precidao as its interim district manager at a special meeting
The board had put the selection of a new manager on its agenda at its
special meeting Aug. 30, but took no action at that time.
Also, after coming to an impasse at its Aug. 30 meeting regarding a
replacement for its Precinct 2 representative, the board decided on
Tuesday to hold a referendum, or popular vote, by landowners in the
precinct for one of three landowners who had expressed interest in the
They are Phillip Box, Donald Bidegain and John Gilbertson.
Each made a short presentation to board members last week. But votes among
the board for one of the candidates were deadlocked.
So, on Tuesday, the board agreed that it would hold the referendum and
appoint the person to the board who received the most support.
Notification of the vote is to go out by letter to landowners in Precinct
A vacancy came open on the five-member board when Franklin McCasland —who
served as the board’s president — resigned in mid-August. In his
resignation letter, dated Aug. 15, McCasland told the board that he was
resigning and that he was interested in the interim district manager’s
position. McCasland was a member of the board when it decided to terminate
district manager Wayne Cunningham, effective Aug. 31.
Board vice president Larry Perkins then became the board’s new president.
Regarding the upcoming vote, Perkins said the district had a record of 106
landowners eligible to vote in Precinct 2 as of Tuesday. The board agreed
that the eligibility of voters would be based on the district’s list of
landowners as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.
The votes will be based on the number of acres allowed by the district for
each of its constituents in Precinct 2.
Voters will come to the district’s headquarters at 101 E. High Street,
between 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 2, and the end of the business day, at
4:30 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 6, the board agreed.
Board members also agreed that they would count the votes and appoint the
new board member at its Oct. 10 meeting.
A contract is to be drawn up between the board and Preciado for the
interim district manager’s position, the board agreed. Preciado, it was
agreed, will receive $1,000 additional each month.
Preciado has worked as a ditch rider and foreman for seven years and is
currently paid $12.50 per hour, he said.
A ditch rider patrols the Tucumcari irrigation canal, and its narrow
lateral waterways, to make sure they are operating properly and controls
the water distribution when a farmer requests water for irrigation and
shuts off the flow of water following irrigation.
Perciado said his mission as interim district manager was to keep things
In other business before the board, members agreed to advertise for
applicants in several metropolitan daily newspapers for district manager.
The Arch Hurley Conservancy provides irrigation water to nearly 700