Arch Hurley Distict names five finalists

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

The Arch Hurley Conservancy Board of Directors will be interviewing candidates for its general manager on Thursday, the board said at its meeting on Tuesday night.

To be interviewed are:
• William Conrad of Logan
• Mike Delano of Roy
• Ralph Lopez of Tucumcari
• Franklin McCasland, former board chairman of Arch Hurley, of Tucumcari, and
• Mark Preciado, acting general manager of Arch Hurley, of Tucumcari.

McCasland is the immediate past chair of the board, who resigned his chairmanship during the summer. At the time, he said in his resignation letter that he would be applying for the district’s general manager position.

The board provided no further discussion, but chairman Larry Perkins said the board would be discussing the interviewing process of its general manager’s position at it closed executive session.

Board members – who met for about four hours – spent about an hour discussing the prospect of hiring a water attorney who could answer some of the member’s questions and address some of their concerns regarding the district’s water rights and how it might position itself to protect those rights.

“I would rather spend $6,000 to $8,000 to find out a lot of information and be pro-active and learn the things we need to know,” said board member John Gilbertson.

Bob Morgan, who was in the audience, said that he thought the board needed a good water attorney who could advocate on the district’s behalf in certain instances when the district’s watershed may be threatened by other users upstream.

“We need a good crackerjack attorney,” he said. “We need to protect our water rights.”

Another member of the audience, Pete Tatschl said, that water rights are like a chain with a weak link and that once the chain is broken it often too late repair it, if it’s not protected.

In other attorney-related matters, the board also discussed the costs and billing of its current attorney, Dean Border, who charges $160 per hour. Board members said that they were disappointed that Border could not explain some of his billing hours.

Board members agreed that they would seek request for proposals for an attorney for the board.

In other business before the board, members:
l Directed Preciado to go ahead with plans to hire workers for three positions, a maintenance worker, an operator and ditch rider. Board members agreed relief ditch rider should also be hired, but that it should be someone with experience and, perhaps, someone from within the ranks who had experience in the district.

l Discussed the possibility that Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores will reroute an underground lateral concrete irrigation pipe at a cost of about $6,000 when it begins construction on its new expanded truck stop at Mountain Road and I-40.

Bill Gleason, real estate project manager, for the Oklahoma City-based Love’s, explained to the board that its new turning lane and parking area would cross over two sections of one of the district’s lateral irrigation pipes.

To build its new truck plaza, construction crews would have to excavate three-feet of dirt and then compact it for concrete resurfacing to meet the weights of commercial semi traffic. Gleason suggested that they would uncover the pipe and then seal in commercial grade concrete.

However, board members told Gleason that once the concrete pipes were exposed it was very likely that they would eventually leak and become a nuisance under Love’s parking facility. Board member David Foote suggested that Love’s reroute the pipe and bear the expense. Gleason agreed and said he would seek approval from company and construction officials.

• Agreed that district administrative staff would tally hours for new loans made to members from the state’s Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) because new regulations required additional man hours to process. The board agreed that it would not charge any additional fees or raise interest rates until it knew the extra costs to the district for processing loans.