Clallam PUD to consider applications for vacant commission seat

PORT ANGELES — Fourteen applicants, including one woman, have applied for appointment to the Clallam County Public Utility District commission to complete the two-year unexpired term of former District 2 Commissioner Hugh Haffner of Port Angeles, who resigned July 15.

Ted Simpson and Will Purser, the two remaining PUD commissioners, will review applications for the seat at 10 a.m. Monday in executive session at the main office at 104 Hooker Road, Carlsborg, PUD spokeswoman Nicole Clark said.

If chosen, the female applicant would be the first woman to serve as a PUD commissioner in the utility’s 78-year history, according to PUD records.

District 2, which stretches from the west side of Sequim at the Dungeness River to the east side of Port Angeles, does not include the city of Port Angeles.

Clark said the closed meeting will be followed by a public meeting.

The candidates have filled out a one-page application.

It includes background information such as how long they have lived in Clallam County and their voter registration numbers.

They are asked questions on their interest, experience, expertise related to commissioner position and what they see as the role of a PUD commissioner.

Simpson and Purser will review the applications in the closed session before deciding on finalists.

Simpson and Purser did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

PUD lawyer Jerry Rubin of Seattle said the PUD would not make the applicants’ names or their applications available Wednesday to Peninsula Daily News.

Rubin said the information is protected from disclosure under a state Public Records Act exemption for applications for public employment.

Rubin said some of the applicants, who were contacted Wednesday, said they did not want their names revealed.

After they meet Monday, the commissioners will make public only the names of the applicants they decide to interview for the vacancy, Rubin said.

Those interviews will be conducted at a public meeting, Clark said.

The commissioners have until Oct. 15 to make a decision.

The appointee will serve the two years left on Haffner’s term.

Haffner resigned for health reasons while under investigation for a sexual harassment complaint filed by a PUD employee.

The investigation was dropped because Haffner resigned before it was completed, Rubin said in an earlier interview.

There have been 17 PUD commissioners since the PUD was formed in 1940 who have served in the three board positions.

They include include West End District 3 Commissioner Simpson of Port Angeles who previously represented District 2 and is running for re-election in the Nov. 6 election against Jim Waddell.

Like some of the other applicants, the female aspirant has worked previously at a utility, Clark said.

Another applicant was a temporary employee at the PUD.

Candidates are retired and employed, and some have experience in the energy industry.

“The commissioners have a good pool to choose from,” Clark said.

The newly appointed commissioner will pass an annual budget that for 2018 is $67 million for electric operations, $7 million for water operations and $58,500 for sewer operations.

It includes $20 million in reserves and three-year rate increases that began this year.

The 2018 budget contains an average 7 percent water and wastewater rate increase for each of three years beginning Feb. 1 and an average electric rate increase of 4.8 percent, averaging about $71 annually for the average residential ratepayer, that began April 1.

PUD commissioners receive a salary of $2,567 per month.

They receive a per diem payment of $128 a day to a maximum of $17,920 a year for meetings and for performance of other duties on behalf of the district, for a maximum of salary and per diem payments of $48,724 a year.

They also receive group insurance for themselves, their immediate families and dependents, and a mileage allowance received by all PUD employees of 75 cents a mile for official business.

PUD commissioners hire the general manager, treasurer and auditor.

The PUD employs 145 people, including 106 who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The utility has 26,00o customers and 31,000 meters — some businesses have more than one meter.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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