SCV Water Board director BJ Atkins plans to resign

Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency

Santa Clarita Valley Water board Director BJ Atkins, whom voters reelected in November, has confirmed he plans to resign as early as May. 

“I won’t (resign) until May or July,” he said in a phone interview Monday, adding that he is building a house and will relocate out of Division 3, the area he represents. “I’m going to continue serving the community to the best of my capacity and as chairman (of the SCV Groundwater Sustainability Agency), I’ll do that until it is time for me to resign.” 

He declined to say where he plans to relocate. 

Atkins, a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1966, is credited for his work with others in the creation of SCV Water, which commenced operations in January 2018 after the joining of the Newhall County Water District, Castaic Lake Water Agency and Santa Clarita Water Division. 

He had previously served on the Newhall County Water District board after being elected in 2005 and joined Castaic’s board in 2009. He has served on the SCV Water board since its start.  

In the 2020 general election, voters re-elected him with more than 16,800 votes or more than 28.50% of the overall vote, according to Los Angeles County certified elections results. Kathye Armitage, who earned the second seat in Division 3, received 24% of the vote. 

With an open seat upon his resignation, the water board has a few options as it moves toward its goal of reducing its number of members from 12 to nine by January 2023, per Senate Bill 634 — the legislation that created SCV Water, according to agency spokeswoman Kathie Martin. In early June, board members voted to eliminate the seat of former board member Tom Campbell after he resigned. The move left the agency board with 12 members, down from the original 15. 

The board would not be able to leave Atkins’ seat vacant as that only applied to the initial directors in their initial terms and Atkins was just re-elected, according to Martin on behalf of the agency’s attorney. 

One option is to call for a special election within 60 days of the resignation, or the board could appoint someone to fill the seat within two months. The third option would be the board takes no action, at which time the L.A. County Board of Supervisors would step in and appoint a replacement, said Martin.

“For more specifics, we’ll have to wait and see what date the resignation is effective, and when the board takes it up for discussion,” added Martin.

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