Water board on a collision course

In an Oct. 3 meeting of the Holley Navarre Water System Board of Directors, President Bien May told one person in the audience it was a good sign if people weren’t showing up to their meetings. It means everyone is happy with the job they are doing.  He is either oblivious or arrogant or both.

If you haven’t been paying attention, let me catch you up. One of the directors on the board, Robert Coley, has moved to Tennessee, but he maintains a rental in Navarre. He lives in Tennessee – not Navarre. The board attorney, Mike Tidwell, said in a recent meeting the member of the water system is defined as the person receiving the service (the one using the water). He further clarified that it isn’t the person who owned the property. A member is the only one eligible to serve on the board or even cast a vote. The person living at Coley’s rental property pays the water bill to the management company, and is the one using the service. So, why is Robert Coley still serving on the board when he is ineligible? By the statement from their own attorney he is ineligible. He does not receive water service from HNWS, his tenant does. What will happen to all the votes that have taken place since he has been on the board because his vote now has to be taken away?

It is all interesting because the board is clearly split 4-3. On one side is Gaius Bruce, Robert Coley, Troy Bossier and Bien May and the other side is Brian Kelly, James Calkins and Ricki DeSantis. The split came when Kelly, who is head of the finance committee sent an email to Paul Gardner, executive director of the water system asking very specific financial questions. Imagine that – a financial chairperson asking financial questions. Gardner wouldn’t specifically answer the questions. Let’s say he ‘beat around the bush.’ So Kelly keeps asking the questions – Kelly is a smart man when it comes to financials. He has been around the Wall Street block. So they appeared to get really nervous when Kelly started asking questions and they found any way they could to avoid answering him.

Calkins and DeSantis started asking questions as well – and what do you know? They have been shut out of the board. Secret meetings without them, they don’t have access to certain sets of minutes and they are creating a very hostile environment from which to serve. An audience member questioned Paul Gardner at the meeting Friday night and Gardner was so upset he came down off of the stage to aggressively address the gentleman and May had to call him off. Gardner has also balled up pieces of paper and thrown them at board members. Very professional – for a first grader.

Bossier wants to go along with the popular kids because he gets work and a lot of it from Holley Navarre Water Systems even though it is forbidden for a board member to profit from his or her position. He has rarely shown up for meetings in person but joins by phone. Although lately he has been present to participate in the nonsensical antics of the four.

No wonder the rates increased 17 percent – we are paying for stupidity – or maybe we are lining pockets. A not for profit controlling millions of dollars in the water system and their “engineering company” – oh and don’t forget about Fairpoint Utility which is housed and headed up at Holley Navarre Water System. And the relatives who are out there making money installing water company equipment on the side. And we could go on and on – but we will leave some for you to experience at the next water board meeting.

Holley Navarre Water Systems Board of Directors meets every third Tuesday – and everyone who flushes a toilet in Navarre (excluding Navarre Beach) should hold this board accountable for their childishness, rudeness and arrogance.  Oh – and incompetence. They have two seats coming open in January. Time to get involved.

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