CRPUD Board Approves Retention Agreement Payouts for Four Former Managers

September 24, 2015 – At a September 23, 2015 special meeting, the Board of Directors for Columbia River People’s Utility District (PUD) unanimously approved the payout of four retention agreement contracts. The contracts had been executed on August 27, 2015 by the four managers whose employment ended on Tuesday, September 22.

Managers Serena Brooks, Sheila Duehring, Steve Hursh and Val Koss had each received retention agreement contracts in November 2014 from then-General Manager Kevin Owens. The agreements were created shortly before Owens left the PUD. Newly elected board members Craig Melton and Harry Price took office after Owens’ departure. The Board was made aware of the existence of the retention agreements a few months later.

The payouts approved by the Board total roughly $430,000. In exchange for the payouts, the managers waived their rights to file any future claims against the PUD.

In an all-staff meeting on September 24, Interim General Manager John Nguyen discussed the Board’s action and other recent changes. He thanked employees for continuing to focus on customers and working hard.

“Our mission is to do what’s best for our PUD customers,” said Nguyen. “We are working to control costs while providing great service. We reduced the 2015 budget by $1 million to help keep the rate increase as low as possible. We will keep looking for ways to streamline operations and be more efficient.”

Nguyen said the PUD was on track to complete capital projects and system maintenance budgeted for 2015. Development of the PUD’s 2016 budget will begin immediately.