Belmont Councilman Dave Warden will be joining incumbents Al Stuebing and Betty Linvill on the Mid-Peninsula Water District Board to serve the small Belmont-based district, voters decided yesterday.
Challenger Mike Malekos almost walked onto the board in an uncontested election before Warden threw his hat in the ring.
Warden, three-time former mayor of Belmont who served on the City Council for 12 years, rolled in first with 31.2 percent of the vote. He gave up his position to run for a seat on the water board at the last minute because he said he couldn’t stand to see it go uncontested. He’s grateful that the voters and his community recognized that he could continue to serve in the best interest of the ratepayers, Warden said.
Linvill came in second with 25.2 percent of the vote. This was the first time she had to run for a seat since she walked on six years ago, Linvill said.
“I’m proud to be elected and I feel an enormous responsibility to continue to serve the community,” Linvill said.
This was the second time Stuebing was re-elected after coming in third with 23.4 percent of the vote. Mike Malekos, a former Belmont finance commissioner with 18 years of utility experience, lost with 20.3 percent of the vote.
All the candidates generated good ideas and, although the election process stirred up issues, it turned into a positive thing with which the board will move forward, Stuebing said.
Company oversight was at the core of the election after a recent embezzlement scandal in which former employee Catherine Abou-Remeleh allegedly embezzled more than $200,000 over a three-year period but was caught after suffering a stroke.
The small 18-employee operation has an annual $9 million budget and more than $17 million in assets. Working out thorough bookkeeping and budgeting is a must, Warden said previously. He plans to look at economies of scale with various agencies to leverage better rates and is dedicated to improving the transparency of the board’s financial reporting, Warden said.
As the water district board stands, it takes all five members to come together to make a decision, Linvill said. With her help, the board will continue to polish its policies and enhance its financial documenting procedures, Linvill said.
With repairs underway on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission infrastructure, rates are projected to rise. Keeping customers happy with reasonable rates while providing them quality service is a job all three victors say they’re dedicating to fulfilling.
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