SCV Water board takes no action on empty seat

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The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency board of directors decided to take no action on Tuesday to fill one of its presently empty seats, leaving the election this fall to decide who fills the vacancy.  

In a meeting held on Tuesday, the board, following a handful of motions and lengthy discussion on the topic, opted to allow the vacant seat formerly held by Jerry Gladbach in Division 2 — a district that includes most of Saugus, as well as northeastern portions of Valencia and northern portions of Canyon Country — to remain empty.  

In previous discussions regarding empty seats, the board has been given a handful of choices, including being able to appoint someone to fill or vacancy or allow the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to decide on the appointment.  

However, after Gladbach’s death on July 13, the board decided that due to the proximity to the upcoming election it would likely be better to allow someone to run for the empty seat and ultimately be sworn in on Jan. 1. The board would normally have 60 days to appoint someone to the position, otherwise the Board of Supervisors would be given a similar amount of time to decide on its own appointment.  

However, that process would complete after the election day and the person would serve for only a handful of months before the next person — if they had not competed in the previous election — would assume office.   

In March of this year, former Director Dan Mortensen resigned after he had been found guilty on a single charge of domestic violence. The board later approved the appointment of Director Maria Gutzeit to the seat.   

Last month, the board had voted to appoint someone to one of the director seats for Division 3 due to the resignation of longtime board member BJ Atkins, who moved out of the district and therefore became ineligible to hold the seat.   

Regardless of any decisions the board makes at this point, only one of nine seats will have an appointed director (the Atkins seat) as of Jan. 1, 2023, and that seat will be up for election as scheduled in 2024.  

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