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City Council Rejects Mayor’s Nominee to Water Board

A new clash over nominations to outside agency boards broke out today when the City Council rejected Mayor Bob Filner's nominee to serve as the city of San Diego's representative on the County Water Authority Board of Directors.

Photo credit: KPBS

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on the set of KPBS Evening Edition, February 2013.

The council members who voted in a 5-2 majority stressed they were not opposed to the nominee, Philip Pryde. However, they were against Filner's decision to replace Roger Bailey, director of the city's Public Utilities Department, as a city representative.

"He's the top expert in our city on water issues, so he should be on the water board,'' Councilman Kevin Faulconer said of Bailey.

Francisco Estrada of the mayor's office said Pryde, a retired San Diego State University geography professor, was "eminently qualified'' to serve on the CWA board.

He said a win-win opportunity existed because Bailey would still serve as an adviser in the mayor's office.

"We have (a nominee) with outstanding credentials, outstanding qualifications, outstanding community service, while at the same time we retain the experience and the expertise that Mr. Bailey would provide as a member of the mayor's staff in terms of support to all of our water authority members,'' Estrada said.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf responded that it was better for the head of the city's water operations "to lead, not support.''

The mayor and City Council have previously disputed appointments to the San Diego Association of Governments and Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners.

The County Water Authority imports water from the Metropolitan Water District and Colorado River and sells it to 24 local water agencies which, in turn, ship it to homes and businesses. The CWA is also in charge of storing water in reservoirs and moving large volumes through pipelines.

The city of San Diego holds 10 seats on the 36-member CWA Board of Directors.

According to Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, the city is scheduled to make another CWA board appointment in January 2014.


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