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FPUD awaits hearing over McPhee’s allegations

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
Issue 40, Volume 17.
Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent
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The Fallbrook Public Utility District, which previously placed sanctions on FPUD board member Archie McPhee for violations of FPUD’s ethics policy and the district’s code of conduct, opted not to take action on any additional potential violations during the Sept. 23 board meeting, but instead will wait until after a hearing by U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel regarding McPhee’s allegations.

McPhee, who was previously sanctioned for revealing closed session information involving the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project, sent three additional letters to Curiel and Jjudge Larry Burns, who have been assigned to the case regarding the litigation related to the Conjunctive Use Project.

Curiel has asked for additional information regarding McPhee’s letters. "He may require the parties to come into court and explain themselves, including Archie," said FPUD general manager Brian Brady.

A Sept. 9 special meeting of the FPUD board prohibited McPhee from participating in closed session matters and from closed sessions involving personnel matters while denying McPhee per diem meeting fees until he has complied with the district’s Administrative Code requirement that he attend a training session on FPUD director duties and responsibilities.

The FPUD board also declared McPhee’s action with regard to the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project to be outside the scope of McPhee’s duties as a director, which means that FPUD will not provide legal defense or indemnification if a civil suit is filed against McPhee. McPhee was also instructed to cease and desist from any additional communication with Camp Pendleton.

FPUD and Camp Pendleton have been working towards finalizing the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project which would use natural and enhanced flows in the Santa Margarita River to enhance the recharge of groundwater basins and would provide up to 18,000 acre-feet per year for Camp Pendleton and FPUD. The project, which has a total estimated cost of $140 million, would also include a seawater intrusion barrier which would use recycled water and a distribution system to deliver water both to FPUD and to the San Diego County Water Authority.

The management of the groundwater basins would provide FPUD with 4,000 to 6,500 acre-feet of new supply each year from the Santa Margarita River, which equates to approximately 25 to 30 percent of FPUD’s annual need of 16,000 acre-feet. The local supply would protect against cutbacks from the County Water Authority if the CWA’s State Water Project or Colorado River allocation is reduced. An agreement between the United States Marine Corps and FPUD is undergoing federal legal review and is expected to be finalized soon.

The initial three letters for which McPhee was sanctioned were to Camp Pendleton commanding General Vincent Conglianese. McPhee opposed FPUD’s plans for the Conjunctive Use Project while identifying himself as an FPUD board member, thus violating not only closed session confidentiality but also FPUD policy prohibiting individual board members from making contact and contradicting the decision of the full board.

John Simpson, who is Camp Pendleton’s representative for water issues, attended the May 29 FPUD board meeting and told the FPUD board that McPhee’s first two letters were undermining the ongoing settlement discussions.

McPhee’s first two letters to Curiel and Burns were dated June 8 and June 28 and were rejected by the court on the grounds that the documents were not timely. McPhee’s third letter, dated Aug. 5, was filed with the court. After that filing, Simpson notified FPUD that the Navy Inspector General had been assigned to investigate allegations and insinuations of criminal-level acts, negligence, and liability against both FPUD and Camp Pendleton.

FPUD’s Personnel Committee met Sept. 16 and recommended that the full board take no action until Curiel acts on the issue.



Comment Profile ImageLMAO
Comment #1 | Thursday, Oct 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm
I love living in Fallbrook. It is just one big soap opera.
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #2 | Thursday, Oct 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm
Curiouser and curiouser. I for one won't be surprised if FPUD ends up being found guilty of "criminal-level acts".
Comment Profile Imageresident
Comment #3 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 7:58 am
There hasn't been any criminal activity with FPUD. The board members have done an amazing job while having to handle someone who constantly misrepresents decisions, people and himself on the board. Glad to see the the board be able to conduct business without the constant interruption and irritation.
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #4 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 8:56 am
I think it more likely that it will be old Arch who will be found guilty of something. In my opinion ranting, raving, and generally disrupting board meetings to no avail, does not a good board member make.
Comment Profile ImageRuth Noyes
Comment #5 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 9:09 am
To Resident, who won't display their name: And your favorite color is blue and the world is just perfect....oh you people are such a source of entertainment for me. Thanks!
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #6 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 10:51 am
The "FPUD policy prohibiting individual board members from making contact and contradicting the decision of the full board" sounds like a 1st amendment rights violation. The supreme court puts out a descending opinion. Surly Archie should have that same right.
Comment Profile ImageSeriously??
Comment #7 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 11:37 am
@Comment #6: He can send a letter as a citizen representing himself, he cannot send a letter representing the board of FPUD without the other members okay. That is called misrepresentation.
Comment Profile ImageRuth Noyes
Comment #8 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm
Thank you Avo Farmer, the voice of reason. Just read about how GM Brian Brady's past with Imperial Valley Water District - how he accused several in his many GM jobs over the years of breaking the Brown Act. This accusation against Mr. McPhee is not his first rodeo. Mr. McPhee has made many good points about bad and possibly illegal decisions the board has made, which is his job. As to the GM's resume, Mr. Brady himself has placed it out there! I challenge everyone to look at these articles, then you can tell me how among other things, it is fair, (per the FPUD) Board to have new homeowners pay for water bills left behind by former homeowners or they will not get service. Where is that the law, that we have to pay other people's bills? Seriously? Wake up Fallbrook!
Comment Profile ImageWally
Comment #9 | Friday, Oct 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm
Why is McPhee wasting his time not getting anything done for the good people of Fallbrook when he can focus more on not getting anything done in Congress? I suggest a higher office!
Comment #10 | Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 7:05 am
"There hasn't been any criminal activity with FPUD," states resident, in comment #3. I adamantly disagree with this comment.

This board CONTINUES to raise our water and sewer rates, to astronomical levels, including administration fees! If this isn't criminal activity, I don't know what is!

In all due respect, I do agree with, the following statement, Comment # 3 makes: "The board members have done an amazing job." Who could disagree with this statement? Yes, the board members have done an "amazing job" by killing our avocado growers, by putting them out of business, due to the continual increase of water and sewer fees. The same is true for residential water and sewer and administration fees.

Just look at your FDUP bills and you will understand what I mean. This is CRIMINAL and uncalled for! Of course, the FPUD board ALWAYS uses the SAME EXCUSE: "The MWD raises their rates, so WE have to pass it on to you!"
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #11 | Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 9:08 am
@Comment #7: You need to take a course in reading comprehension. The policy, according to the article, doesn't allow him to make contact period.
Comment Profile ImageSeriously??
Comment #12 | Saturday, Oct 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm
My reading comprehension is just fine Avo Farmer. Archie identified himself as a board member of FPUD in the letters. Letters that were not sanctioned by the board. That is a BIG No No. Had Archie attended the training classes for board members, he would know that. I never said I was happy with my FPUD bill, I'm not, but that doesn't mean I think the current board members or the general manager are evil. I think you and the others are simply shooting the messengers. As far as McPhee's role as a board member goes, please name one, just one, thing he has done that hasn't made him look like he's out of control? I don't care what his intentions are, his performance stinks.
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #13 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 5:53 am
Seriouly??: You’d be correct; if Fallbrook was located in Communist China. In America, it is evil to deny a person his constitutional rights.
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #14 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 7:50 am
That is ridiculous Avo Farmer, nobody denied Archie his constitutional rights. Geez. Boards have rules for a reason, grab a copy of Robert's Rules of Order and take a look. If boards of directors didn't have rules it would be chaos. I don't like my FPUD bill either, it went up $25 per month for nothing that I can see!! I'm mad. That doesn't mean though that Archie didn't shoot himself in the foot. By the way, you didn't answer #12s question, name one thing that Archie has done that has benefited the ratepayers?? Please!! He uses board meetings to make himself look silly!
Comment Profile ImageLMAO
Comment #15 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 10:08 am
I guess you are right about one thing avo farmer, he does have a constitutional right to make a fool out of himself, it is guaranteed.
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #16 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm
Pink, I’m sure FPUD is very happy that you support their “shut Archie up” policy. Too bad you are in violation of their latest policy to stop customers from complaining via the VN. Don't be surprised if FPUD comes out to shut your water off first thing in the morning.
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #17 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm
@Avo Farmer: How do you spell paranoid.....
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #18 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 6:56 pm
Please see my comment #26 @

Welcome to the COMPLETE control of our military-industrial complex. Now even our WATER will be under the military's con troll. Good luck to us all!

PS. Oh, I almost forgot. Do WE, THE PEOPLE get to vote on this joint project directly? If not, why not? Where is the democracy? Where?!
Comment Profile ImagePink
Comment #19 | Monday, Oct 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm
.... oh, and by the way, Avo Farmer, you still haven't given us that one thing that Archie has done to actually benefit the ratepayers. I think you are just playing the smoke and mirrors game. Are you trying to keep our minds off the real issue, Archie's performance as a board member? I think you are.... is this Archie by any chance?
Comment Profile ImageAvo Farmer
Comment #20 | Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 9:32 am
Your question is irrelevant to the discussion of FPUD’s policy and also to the general point of this news article. The point I was trying to make was there is no difference in FPUD having this policy of punishing your duly elected representative for voicing his opinion and if they decided to deny you water service for voicing your opinion. Evidently the comparison went right over your head.
The fact you ask the question about Archie’s performance tells me three things. You have never been to a FPUD board meeting, you have never read or understood the minutes of a meeting and you have no clue how the process even works. Archie will never be effective as long as the board is comprised of a majority of members that have total contempt for the man. Even if Archie came up with a brilliant plan that would save FPUD and us millions of dollars, the majority of board members would vote NO just to spite him. The only hope for farming in Fallbrook, is if there is a major awakening of the FPUD customers to what is really going on and we all come together to vote out the status quo, Archie included. We need people on the Board that are skeptical of FPUD management but not over the top, like Archie. Everybody should read the articles that Ruth has links to and then ask themselves why the majority of the Board voted to hire this guy, especially at his pay rate and with a golden parachute clause to boot.
Comment Profile ImageRuth Noyes
Comment #21 | Tuesday, Oct 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm
This is a hot topic indeed. To Avo Farmer, I feel forced to believe that the good people of Fallbrook are either too busy trying to make ends meet to fight any fight, even a good fight, that some are in genuine fear of the Board or the Good Old Boys Club as I like to call them or they are merely ignorant as to the Operations of the District as you have pointed out so well. These factors and more prevent people from coming together to have honest discussions about what works or does not work for the people. I have had a few friends quit farming instead of trying to save their way of life. They are just tired. For me, the FPUD Board is not just on their own agenda, they are also oppressive. I have example after example from folks in town about their oppressive ways. If you want to talk about this, I am more than ready to hear, please contact me at
Please, only adults contact me. Thank you to the Village News for providing this place of discussion.

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