The Kennewick Irrigation District board interviewed three of four applicants Tuesday in trying to reveal the best candidate to fill a board vacancy created by the resignation of John Jaksch this past spring.
Retired nuclear engineer Robert Frink, retired Navy chief petty officer Dean Dennis and Penny Hermanson, who is married to board member Patrick McGuire, each answered questions about ethics, KID's management organization, how to develop trust with staff and the public, and what they could bring to the board as experience and qualifications.
Dennis said he wants to be the board representative for the approximately 15,000 residential ratepayers in the district. He said he enjoys being involved in the community where he is president of the Pheasant Run Home Owners Association, belongs to two car clubs, is active in the Living Room Community Church and works with the Three Rivers Transportation Expo to create a museum in the Tri-Cities.
Dennis said he would flag any unethical issues for the district manager and be a team player with the board before taking any issue public.
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Frink said his strong background and career working with power utilities should fit well with the irrigation district, which he views as a utility. He also said he is familiar with budgets, schedules and the need for maintenance.
Frink said board members should make ethics a priority and be as open as possible with the public and media to foster trust.
Hermanson said she wants to represent all ratepayers equally, including residents, rural property owners and farmers. She said she has attended board meetings since 2008, when her husband first joined the board, and wants to be involved in making more positive changes at KID.
Hermanson said she would speak out against ethical violations and seek advice of counsel on issues involving the KID, noting her strong beliefs in fair play and common sense make her a good candidate.
The fourth applicant, Dale Walter, was not available for Tuesday's interview session.
He is an accountant who worked primarily in the construction field. A Vietnam War veteran and a graduate of Eastern Washington University with a degree in business accounting, Walter served on the KID board in 2008 after being appointed to fill a vacancy.
He was not re-elected in December 2008, defeated by Gene Huffman, the current board president.
Board member McGuire did not participate in the interviews because his wife is one of the applicants.
Written answers to the questions, along with the applications, will be provided to Benton County commissioners, who will select someone to serve out the term of Jaksch, who resigned in May from Position 4 after moving to Texas.
The appointee will serve until a successor is elected in December to complete the last year of the term for the position, which expires in December 2013.