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KWAPA reinstates former executive director

Hollie Cannon will act as the agency manager

by Lacey Jarrell, Herald and News 7/30/15

The Klamath Water and Power Agency board of directors has voted in favor of offering its organization’s former executive director a new contract.

At a special meeting Wednesday, the board voted in favor of the contract 4-1. Only board member Gary Wright opposed approving a contract. The contract permits former KWAPA executive director Hollie Cannon to regain employment with KWAPA — this time as an agency manager.

Cannon said he signed the contract Wednesday morning.

“Mr. Cannon graciously agreed to, for the sake of the community and the Klamath Project, to (provide) technical advice and finish the contracts the agency has,” said board member Dave Cacka.

KWAPA was established in 2008 as an inter-governmental agency whose purpose is to manage the Water Users Mitigation Program (WUMP) through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation. WUMP is designed to investigate the capability of KWAPA to manage a water supplementation program within the Klamath Project, according to the agency’s website.

“I’m thankful to the board members who supported me. I’m thankful to the KWAPA staff; I’m also very thankful to the large number of irrigators that expressed support,” Cannon said.

“I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to move the Project irrigators toward long-term solutions.”

Board vote

The board voted to eliminate the agency’s executive director position, and to terminate Cannon, on July 7. According to Cannon, he and the KWAPA board of directors have been negotiating his reinstatement since July 16.

Acting board chairman Bill Heiney said under the new contract, Cannon will oversee completion of the agency’s WUMP agreements and fulfill other duties the board is obligated to finish.

“He has specific knowledge of those things and training to complete those items,” Heiney said.

Heiney previously said the executive director position was eliminated because the board wants the Basin ag community to have a “more unified voice.”

“My desire is that we continue KWAPA as an organization, but it is going to be restructured ... I have no plans of closing the doors of KWAPA,” Heiney said. “There’s a lot of discussion going on about how we can keep KWAPA viable but integrated into an organization that is under one board — what I mean by ‘one board’ is the Klamath Water Users Association board and the KWAPA board.”

Water, power rights

According to the association’s website, Klamath Water Users is a nonprofit corporation that works to preserve, protect and defend the water and power rights of Klamath Project farmers and ranchers.

KWUA is governed by an 11-member board of directors who are representatives from Klamath Project irrigation districts.

“There are a lot of complex issues farmers, who would like to do nothing else but farm, have to deal with. Organizations have to evolve and change, and we’re at a juncture where both organizations need to evolve and change in order to best represent the irrigation community as a whole,” Cacka said.

Cannon said his managerial contract expires March 31, 2016, when the federal grants currently funding KWAPA terminate. He said as of now, no funding has been secured to support the agency after March.



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