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Contention among Central Valley Water Reclamation Facility board members can be resolved without radical solutions, said board chairman Gary C. Swensen.

Swensen said the process of unifying the divided board will begin Friday with a special study session at the University Park Hotel."It will be just the board, no staff," Swensen said. "We will see what we agree on and what we disagree on and build from there."

The special meeting follows the release of a legislative audit scolding the board for in-fighting between board members as well as between some board members and the district's general manager.

Despite the critical audit report, Swensen said he sees an opportunity for positive things to grow out of the findings.

"We have good people on this board, and they are hard-working people," Swensen said. "I think we have a valuable tool (the audit) that we can work with and begin the healing process."

Swensen sees potential in the report's suggestion that a third party help board members develop detailed written polices intended to eliminate problems currently plaguing board functions.

"I think board members will be open-minded on that issue," Swensen said. "I think there is a good possibility that a third party can expedite some positive things."

The report criticized the board's inability to reach consensus on various issues and the breakdown in board policy-making and conduct of meetings.

While auditors support giving board members time to resolve problems themselves, they recommend more radical action - the replacement of all sitting board members and the general manager - if progress isn't forthcoming soon.

Swensen said there were positive elements in the report. First was a finding that the district is being managed efficiently and properly, both financially and operationally. Second, Swensen said, was the lack of criticism of the district's land holdings and the management of general manager Rodney Dahl, two issues that have played prominent roles in past board disputes.

Swensen said he does not expect that board members will ever agree totally on all issues. But he does believe board members are willing to work together to develop policy guidelines that will allow the district and board to function effectively even though differences in opinion are present.

"I think we are already moving in that direction, that changes are in the works to help us function better in board meetings," Swensen said. "I hope Friday we can begin putting the negative behind us and move forward."