The Sewer Authority Mid-coastside is considering a $1.4 million proposal for a consultant to assist with repairing internal and member-agency trust, hiring a new general manager and providing assistance with an overdue audit through a 28-month program.

The board has already authorized about $80,000 to pay for consultant Dan Childs’ services, which is included in the already approved SAM budget.

“It’s a preliminary thing,” Acting General Manager Kishen Prathivadi said. “We don’t know how we would like to move forward.”

Childs, whose consulting firm is called Wastewater Management Specialist LLC, was originally considered for interim general manager at the Coastside sewer agency. SAM Secretary and Treasurer Barbara Dye said that due to stipulations with his retirement plan, he declined to serve as a general manager. Instead, Childs offered to provide consulting services for SAM.

“He’s kind of uniquely qualified because he’s worked with other sanitation districts in the area,” Dye said.  After Childs’ next 200 hours of work, SAM would need additional money from the member agencies to continue paying for his services. The board will discuss the proposal again at SAM’s Oct. 28 meeting.

Dye, who is also the Granada Community Services District’s vice president, told the GCSD board that Childs will bring a reduced proposal calling for about $200,000 to $300,000 to go through the end of the fiscal year.

The Montara Water and Sanitary District and the GCSD, two of SAM’s member agencies, have already had initial discussions about the proposal. The city of Half Moon Bay has yet to discuss it at a council meeting. City officials said staff is still evaluating Childs’ proposal.  

The MWSD board members highlighted how having a consultant would help. 

“I believe that Wastewater Management is already proving its value to SAM,” MWSD President Kathryn Slater-Carter said at a Sept. 12 meeting. “... And we only have two and a half months left in which Kishen can continue to perform as a manager. We are on a very short timeline for finding someone.”

The GCSD also discussed the proposal the following week. GCSD member David Seaton said having a consultant is “essential” to bringing in a new general manager, and Dye said Childs’ services have been helpful thus far. 

“We have not been asked to authorize the money as part of an actual budget from SAM,” GCSD President Matthew Clark said in an interview. “We have not formally weighed in on that.”

Clark said that he and other members think hiring a general manager would help solve many of the problems that have plagued the unusual joint powers authority for years.

“It’s a heck of a lot of money,” Slater-Carter told the MWSD board. “I think what we have to do is find out from the other member agencies if they’re going to support this or not.” 

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