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CENTRAL UTAH WATER PANEL URGES DISTRICT TO ALTER POLICIES

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A committee of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District's directors has called for a major overhaul of the district's personnel and operating policies and procedures, some of which were drafted in 1969.

The policy revisions were recommended by the Legislative Auditor General's Office, which recently completed a six-month audit of the district and its operating practices. The audit results are expected to be released later this year."This is the time. It's been brought to a head. It's been brought to our attention. We ought to do it right," said LeRoy W. Hooton Jr., chairman of the board's Finance and Administrative Committee.

Hooton said Deloitte, Haskins and Sells, the accounting firm that has conducted the district's annual audit the past six years, also has recommended changes.

On Tuesday the directors authorized the committee to review the existing policies and recommend to the board the best method to update the documents.

Hooton suggested that the board hire a consultant to review and update the district's personnel policy. Large government entities, such as Salt Lake City, retain experts to make sure its policies and procedures comply with the law and are legally defensible.

But board member Rondal McKee said hiring a consulting firm to rework the personnel policies was shirking board responsibility. "Now just what's going to be left for the board to do?" McKee said.

"We're not on the board to be experts in everything," Hooton said. Civil rights, equal pay and worker protection laws are so complex that policy development should be handled by experts, he said.

Board member Nick Sefakis agreed. "I don't think anyone is qualified to do that internally."

Although some board members have been critical of the legislative general's lengthy review of district policies and practices, General Manager Don C. Christiansen said the suggestions the auditor has provided thus far are helpful. "I don't think they've approached this audit in an adversarial way," he said.

The board ought to implement some of the things "we've learned the last six months with these people sitting on our shoulder. As we're responsible to the public, I think they're probably right," he said.

Board member Gerald Maloney has criticized the auditor general office's audit of the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District, of which he is chairman of its board of directors. On Tuesday, Maloney said he agreed with the auditors' recommendation that the Central Utah Water Conservancy District update its policy manuals and review it once a year.

"If for no other reason, we know what's in it," Maloney said.