Terry Schleizer’s resignation from the Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District governing board was a surprise, but her replacement recommendation was a shocker.
In stepping down at a Feb. 18 meeting, Schleizer asked that longtime board critic Sam Schwalm be appointed to take her seat for the remainder of her term.
That caught even Schwalm off guard who wrote on is Web site, “Surprisingly, she recommended that I be her replacement.”
Schleizer said she chose the confrontational Schwalm because, “I believe he takes the time to examine each issue and while I do not always agree with his assessments, perceptions, opinions and perspectives, I think his diligence and hard work would be a benefit to the board and therefore to the residents of the community.”
In June 2008, Schwalm was one of three persons to throw his hat into the ring to replace Barbara Hall on the board. She had resigned earlier in a tiff with board policy and the hiring of John Gliege as PSWID’s attorney.
Board members, however, passed on Schwalm selecting instead Pine businessman Tom Weeks to replace Hall.
In November of that same year, Schwalm ran in the preliminary election for the board but was defeated.
As a member of the watchdog group Water For Pine Strawberry, Schwalm regularly attends meetings, posts results on the Internet and has been a vocal critic often accusing board members of not exercising proper fiduciary responsibility, failing to understand the issues and of bungling condemnation proceedings of Brooke Utilities and other key negotiations.
At a Board of Supervisors meeting last July in Payson, Schwalm went so far as to suggest the supervisors call upon a rarely used provision of state law to take over control of the water district.
That did not occur.
Early last year, Schwalm wrote a scathing indictment of the board and the engineering firm of Economists.com PSWID had hired, saying, “The speculation ... is that the PSWID board had a need to show that the purchase (of Brooke Utilities) would be free to ratepayers and asked Economists.com to quickly produce such a report.”
Economists.com managing director Dan Jackson responded by saying Schwalm claims were “baseless, unsubstantiated and false.”
Schleizer has been on the board since a successful recall election in the spring of 2008 that unseated former members Gary Sherlock, Jim Richey, Forest McCoy and Wes Suhr replacing the four with Michael Greer, Richard Dickinson, Ron Calderon and Schleizer.
In stepping down, Schleizer said she was doing so, because “my life is taking a different direction and I am in the process of buying a home in the Valley.”
She said she enjoyed her time on the board and believes “we made great strides in returning to the residents their water destiny.”
Also at the Feb. 18 board meeting, President Bill Haney made a recommendation to have the Strawberry Hollow Well on line and producing as soon as possible and to find another source before Labor Day weekend. That source could be the Milk Ranch Well or a deep test well.
The Strawberry Hollow well appears to be a first choice since it could be put into full use as soon as it is hooked up. Also, connection costs would be minimal because of its location near to water mains and a tank.
The Milk Ranch Well, owned by Ray Pugel and Robert Randall, presents some dilemmas in that it needs to be studied for sand infiltration issues and ADEQ permits need to be secured.