OKANOGAN – Steve Taylor, Okanogan County Public Utility District general manager since last August, is in line to get a raise effective June 1.
PUD commissioners, during their May 13 meeting, approved the first reading of a $14,800 salary increase for Taylor. His current salary is $185,000 per year; on June 1 it will rise to $199,800.
The second and final reading is expected when the board meets at 3 p.m. May 28 in the district office, 1331 N. Second Ave.
The planned increase is based on an annual review, conducted the previous week by commissioners, and is consistent with his contract, according to the utility.
Taylor was hired last May to succeed John Grubich, who was fired the previous fall. Taylor began work in August 2018.
He has a master’s degree in public administration from City University in Bellevue, a bachelor of arts from Central Washington University, an associate in arts and science from Big Bend Community College and worked in electronics while in the U.S. Navy.
He has worked as a field engineer for Lower Valley Power in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and for Franklin County PUD, as a project manager for distribution at Power River Energy in Gillette, Wyo. He worked at general manager of Mason County PUD No. 1 in Shelton from 2007 until being hired by the Okanogan County PUD.
In other business, the board:
-Heard from Don Coppock, director of accounting, finance and administration/auditor, that last week, the Federal Energy Management Agency sent word it will be sending $526,000 in reimbursements for the Carlton Complex wildfire projects. It should arrive in two weeks and will be the final payment from damage caused by the Carlton Complex fire of 2014.
-Recognized two employees for their years of service to the district.
Kyle Richter, systems technician, was recognized for 10 years. He started in 2009 as an information systems technician and became systems technician in 2017.
Rod Little, foreman for the Oroville crew, was recognized for 20 years with the district. Little completed his lineman trainee school before coming to the PUD in 1999 as a warehouseman. He moved to a lineman apprenticeship position in 2001 and became a journeyman lineman in 2004. He moved to the foreman position in 2017.
-Heard that Taylor sent letters to Seattle City Light, Tacoma Public Utilities, Bonneville Power Administration, and Grant County Chelan County and Douglas County public utility districts to see if they have funding available to assist with possible future costs associated with Enloe Dam.
Taylor said he will keep the board updated on responses.
-Heard from Matthew Stevie, environmental coordinator, about his first six months on the job. He said he is working with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on dam safety for Enloe, and with Max J. Kuney Co. on pursuing three options for dewatering and inspecting Enloe.
-Approved the 2019 wage and salary grade program. Taylor said he signed a contract with Milliman Inc. to work with staff to provide a compensation study that includes reviewing job descriptions and salary ranges before the next budget season.
-Approved an updated governance policy and retirement plan trustee authority.
-Heard from Ron Gadeberg, director of power resources and broadband services, that wholesale power sales were better during April and slightly better than budgeted. Retail sales were lower than budgeted.
Overall power sales are still nearly $2.5 million under budget so far this year because of the cold weather and high prices that PUD had to pay for power in February and March.
-Learned that Taylor put his name in as a possible candidate to serve on the new state wildfire task force if the state so chooses.
-Reminded the public that right of way access the PUD has on various lands is not public access – it is private. Commissioner Bill Colyar said he has heard complaints in his area, the Methow Valley, of people misusing PUD rights of way.