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TID candidate forum brings up concerns surrounding linemen union

TID candidate forum brings up concerns surrounding linemen union

A TID candidate forum held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall on Wednesday evening brought together Board of Supervisor candidates Joe Alamo, Ron Macedo, Darrel Monroe and Daniel Agundez, as the ...


POSTED October 3, 2013 9:26 p.m.

With elections right around the corner, the Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors candidates came together on Wednesday evening to participate in a public forum sponsored by the Turlock Tea Party.

The two current incumbents seeking reelection, Directors Joe Alamo and Ron Macedo were joined by their opponents, Daniel Agundez and Darrel Monroe to address labor issues, water rates, the federal relicensing process, and other matters directly related to serving on the Board of Directors.

“This is such an important time at TID,” said Alamo. “We need people in there that are concerned about keeping competitive rates and having competitive water. We need to stay with the great tradition that this district has.”

While Alamo and Macedo both placed a strong emphasis on continuing to build around the tradition of TID built by the forefathers of the District, Monroe made it clear that he sees the current problems facing the District as a direct result of poor management.

“The problem is with the administration and the directors that we currently have,” said Monroe. “All the problems are poor management. It takes one guy to change that.”

During his opening statement, Agundez addressed the issue of TID outsourcing jobs to workers in Texas, rather than utilizing local workers.

“The local people are here to stay, they help their local economy,” said Agundez. “We need to keep the jobs local.”

But both Macedo and Alamo stated that although keeping the jobs local is an ideal situation, the District’s primary concern should be providing reliability for customers.

“Right now we have to worry about reliability,” said Macedo. “I’m definitely in favor of outsourcing if it means reliability for our customers.”

The ongoing contract negotiations with the local linemen union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, was a hot topic during the forum. In October 2011, 40 linemen failed to answer their phones following a reported outage leaving 49 TID customers without power for nearly two days.

Although all four candidates denied any current relationship with the IBEW, Supervisor Alamo revealed that his opponent, Agundez, received campaign funds from the local linemen’s union. Some linemen at the meeting denied this allegation, demanding Alamo provide proof to the audience.

According to an official 497 Contribution Report filed on Sept. 30 with the Stanislaus County Clerk, Agundez did receive $1,500 in contributions from the IBEW local union 1245.

“We have been faithfully negotiating with them for two years now,” said Alamo, in regards to his relationship to the IBEW. “I do not have any relationship to them other than negotiations. We need to get to an agreement, and we need to have reliability for our customers.”

Audience members were also given the opportunity to ask the candidates questions during the forum, held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall located at 1405 E. Linwood.

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