Irrigation District will have a new manager in place by
mid-February, pending acceptance of an offer to hire
Gene Souza for $95,000 per year.
Souza, who will retire this month from
his director of operations post with the U.S. Army in
Virginia, intends to return to Klamath Falls in the
first or second week of February if he accepts the
position. He is a 1989 Henley High School graduate, and
plans to relocate his family’s equine ranch to the
Souza brings 30 years of military
experience and 20 years of leadership experience to the
post, and receieved his commission as an officer from
the Robert D. Clark Honors College at University of
Oregon in 1999.
“Gene is returning to the Klamath Basin
after nearly 30 years of military service,” said KID
Board President Ty Kliewer, in a news release. “He is a
strategic thinker who has honed his skills working on
some of our nation’s most difficult challenges. His
proven success in improving water management and
irrigation projects across Iraq and Afghanistan will
provide us with fresh perspectives. We are excited to
have him as a member of our team.”
Acting manager Scott Cheyne will return
to his role as assistant manager once Souza takes over
the managerial role. Cheyne served as acting manager for
about six months since former manager John Wolf took
early leave in August, before his official retirement.
Current assistant manager Fritz Frisendahl will move to
a new role once the manager arrives, but is slated to
remain with the district.
Cheyne said he’d be available to help the
new manager get acquainted with the position once he
“My overall experience, I really enjoyed
it,” Cheyne said of serving as acting manger. “Enjoyed
working with the people that work here and I’ll continue
to do that, of course.
“I’ll do whatever I need to do to help
the district move forward.”
KID board members also voted unanimously
to rejoin the Klamath Water Users Association under a
rate of $6.50 per acre, an increase in assessment rate
of $1 per acre.
Prior to the vote, several individuals at
the meeting voiced opposition to rejoining the water
users association, including Brent Cheyne, former
president of the KID board.
KID entered in to an executive session,
which is closed to the general public, after which they
voted to maintain their membership in the association.
“There’s always things that can be
improved upon and I think that things are improving,”
said Nathan Rietmann, legal counsel for KID, noting that
improvements in communication is a valid suggestion.
“Our legal strategies and efforts are
aligning and we’re going to get through it by engaging
as opposed to just completely disengaging,” Rietmann
“More heads are better than one and I
think things are moving in a positive direction.”
Rietmann, who attends KWUA meetings, said
he plans to compile a report for the board on happenings
at the water users’ meetings.
Audience members also voiced concerns
with KID’s planning committee, and the process of
appointing members. The board first voted to appoint
several area residents to the volunteer committee, but
then rescinded that vote, and voted to open up the
process to KID patron applicants only.