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Meet candidates for Lakehaven Utility District comissioner 3

CHARLES GIBSON

1. How do you view the relationship between Federal Way and the Lakehaven Utility District, and what role should the board members play in that relationship?

I view the relationship between Federal Way and the Lakehaven Utility District as a partnership working to deliver services to the citizens of Federal Way and customers of Lakehaven Utility District. Both the city and utility district are public entities that have been created to provide services to their constituents. Lakehaven Utility District is in partnership will all municipalities within its service area, i.e., Federal Way, Auburn, Pacific, Des Moines, Milton and portions of unincorporated King County.

When I was appointed to the Lakehaven Board in September 2006, I became a member of the Lakehaven Board City Liaison Committee. In early 2007, the City of Federal Way and the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce requested that Lakehaven place an employee in City Hall to assist customers and developers needing utility services. I made the motion to add that position, which was unanimously passed by the board.

I meet with Federal Way City Council members, city staff and other community leaders on a regular basis to discuss and understand the needs of Federal Way residents and businesses. Information from these meetings is discussed at Lakehaven board meetings and integrated into district planning actions for Lakehaven staff.

2. Why should Federal Way residents vote for you?

My experience on the board and educational and work background are a benefit to the Lakehaven Utility District customers in performing my duties as a commissioner. My technical education, MS and Ph.D. in marine sciences and 30 years of experience, working with and managing scientists, engineers and technical support staff for a research organization and major manufacturing company provide an understanding of the needs for operating and maintaining a sound water and sewer utility. My managerial experience is a benefit to the district for providing understanding, advice and direction for maintaining a strong and committed staff.

The district benefits from my experience working for and with government agencies on environmental issues and working for industry in complying with regulations, understanding environmental impacts and finding cost-effective solutions for complying with regulations and minimizing environmental impacts.

I think the district benefits from my disciplined approach to planning, budgeting and problem solving. I gather the facts, understand the options and consequences of each option, discuss these with the other board members and key Lakehaven staff, then make a decision that is in the best interest of district customers in the short and long term.

3. As a Lakehaven Utility District commissioner, what will you do to promote water conservation and sound environmental practices among employees and customers?

As a commissioner I have and will continue to support the water conservation and sound environmental practices programs that the district has currently in place. The educational program and calendar poster contest are excellent ways for the district to involve young students and their parents in learning about water conservation. I will continue to support the district in providing educational materials at public functions (e.g., Festival Days, Fourth of July celebration), and in brochures that are available for schools and interested people, and through routine mailings to our customers, and look for new opportunities to inform and educate people about the benefits of water conservation. I also support our block rate structure, which is designed to minimize cost to low volume users and encourage water conservation by increasing cost with increasing water consumption.

I support the district’s commitment to meeting or exceeding all applicable state and federal standards. This includes actions by the employees and the design and operation of all facilities. I am committed to ensuring that in district planning, we take into account not only current environmental regulations, but the availability of technologies and operating procedures that will reduce our environmental impact at a reasonable cost.

Charles Gibson: cigibson@mac.com or (253) 350-7932.

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CHRIS BROWN

1. How do you view the relationship between Federal Way and the Lakehaven Utility District, and what role should the board members play in that relationship?

The relationship between the City of Federal Way and the Lakehaven Utility District has been strained since the attempted merger of these organizations some years ago. The ongoing challenges that still exist should be analyzed by the commission and positive steps taken to enhance the association. It may be noted that the commission has recently taken action to better cooperate with the City of Federal Way in the permitting process. However, this action may be too little too late for those homeowners and customers who have struggled with this cumbersome activity in the past.

The opportunity to improve essential services provided by this utility should be of the utmost importance to commissioners, management and valuable employees alike. As a member of this commission, I would make my highest priority the continued enhancement of the affiliation between the city and utility district for the benefit of the customer.

2. Why should Federal Way residents vote for you?

My family moved from the Midwest to the Federal Way area in spring 1963. I graduated from the Federal Way Public Schools in the 1970s and continued my education at Western Washington University, majoring in economics. I have lived and worked virtually my entire life connected to this community. As the vice president of a small business in Auburn, I gained substantial experience in accounting, employee supervision and administration. In the mid-1980s, I moved on to the construction industry, where I am currently employed as the safety director at Lloyd Enterprises in Federal Way. During my tenure in the construction industry, I have had the opportunity to fully administer excavation and utility installation projects both large and small.

It is my financial, managerial and underground utility experience that I believe will make a great addition to this utility commission. As a member of the commission, I will be vigilant when it comes to the health and safety of our water supply and waste water collection systems. Please allow me to take an active role in providing you the best possible service by casting your vote for me on Nov. 6.

3. As a Lakehaven Utility District commissioner, what will you do to promote water conservation and sound environmental practices among employees and customers?

Promoting water conservation and sound environmental practices are not only essential for our community, but are essential for the continued success of this utility district. As a commissioner, I would stress the enhancement of utility employee knowledge on these important subjects through industry-specific training. Lakehaven’s ability to quickly recognize and correct issues affecting water safety are of the utmost importance. Strict adherence to accepted procedures regarding new construction, water main flushing and water main repair are the surest ways of protecting a continued supply of good, safe drinking water in our community.

Water is a finite resource. Conservation of this most precious supply is an obvious win-win for both the utility district and its customers. While Lakehaven is a recognized leader in water resource conservation, still more can be done. Community outreach programs, additional education for both customers and employees, and exposure on Federal Way’s own TV Channel 21 are just a few of the many ways to promote the conservation message. I truly believe education and cooperation are the keys to success, and as a commissioner, I will be motivated to succeed for the benefit of our community.

Chris Brown: odparts@aol.com or (253) 952-4732.

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