The date was Nov. 21, 2017, and it was a standing room only board meeting of the Holley Navarre Water System. Tempers were raging – some were trying to remove Brian Kelly from the board and others were trying to save him from being ousted.
It all swirled around Kelly’s eligibility to serve on the board. They brought in an attorney who proclaimed no one was eligible because no one had membership certificates (because they weren’t being issued). So, every board member was promptly issued a membership certificate. That was solved. But to Kelly’s eligibility, the attorney said he, according to the bylaws, had to meet four criteria:
Does the subscriber have reasonable accessibility to the source and a need for water services?
Has the subscriber acquired a membership certificate?
Does the subscriber have an active, signed purchase agreement for water services?
Has the subscriber received Board of Director approval for membership admittance?
Kelly provided a water bill in his name. But that did not suit the directors trying to oust him. So the board determined he had failed to produce a lease to show he was living at the address on his water bill showing he had a need for water services. At that meeting, he was removed from the board.
And now they find themselves in a similar situation only this time, because it benefits them, they will bend the rules. According to a source at Holley Navarre Water, on Oct. 12, 2018, board member Doug Larson went to the HNWS office and had one of his two water taps put into his girlfriend’s name. Why? Because she is running for election to the board.
But the shady part of the story is, the tap is hers in name only – she doesn’t use the water. At the Nov. 20 meeting of the board of directors, under a motion made by Larson, they approved the list of October members, and her name was on the list.
The deadline to file an application for board members was Nov. 15. His girlfriend met the deadline, but she wasn’t a member when she filed. She did not have a membership certificate, nor had she received Board of Director approval for membership. She didn’t receive any of that until Nov. 20 when her boyfriend made a motion to approve the list of October members. And they were approved. And she was approved.
How can she be considered eligible – when she did not meet the criteria at the deadline date to file? Her application should have been disqualified right then and there. She meets fewer of the qualifications than Kelly did (who met all of them). But the board knows she is an easy vote. Larson votes with Goulet, she will vote with Larson. Kahl votes however Goulet tells him to vote. That’s four easy votes and for all intents and purposes – a majority. So Larson’s girlfriend wasn’t eligible at the time of application, but the board fixed that for her. Come on in, the waters fine.
Take a look at that timeline again: Oct. 12 – Larson has one of two water taps put in his girlfriend’s name so she can run for the board.
Nov. 15 was the deadline for all applications to be turned in – and she met the deadline but was not eligible.
Nov. 20 the board made her eligible under a motion made by Larson to approve her as a member.
This is how this board works. Bend the rules, ignore the members input, do things behind closed doors and put someone in charge of the place who has zero knowledge or experience in water utilities, no license, has never successfully managed a budget without going bankrupt, has no engineering experience and the list goes on. And the caliber of board members – their record speaks for itself too.
Members of Holley Navarre Water System, do not rest until this has all been resolved. Call and email your commissioners and the Public Services Commission to demand oversight of the out of control utility. Its only your drinking water on the line.