Sanitary board whittles applicant pool to 6

The Costa Mesa Sanitary District directors selected six finalists Tuesday morning from an applicant pool of 19 vying for Director Jim Fitzpatrick's vacated seat.

Arlene Schafer, Shivaji Deshmukh, Al Morelli, Jeffrey Harlan, Dan Worthington and Linda Dixon are scheduled for a final interview at 9:30 a.m. Friday. The interviews will be open to the public at the district's headquarters, 628 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa.

The board will likely finalize its decision Friday and, pending a background check, the new director would begin at the regular board meeting on Feb. 27.

Schafer, a former Costa Mesa mayor, and Worthington have previously served on the district's board, for terms lasting 16 and 12 years, respectively.

Deshmukh is an assistant general manager of the West Basin Municipal Water District in Carson. Morelli is a consultant and engineering professor.

Harlan, an urban planner, writes a biweekly column for the Daily Pilot.

Dixon is an independent fundraising consultant and former Costa Mesa mayor.

Fitzpatrick resigned his seat Jan. 14, saying at the time that he no longer wanted to face the lawsuit filed by his district colleagues. They had argued that his prior service on both the Costa Mesa Planning Commission and the district was incompatible.

He repeatedly denied any such conflict, instead contending that his peers didn't like his questioning of certain district contracting policies.

Fitzpatrick has since applied for a seat on the Planning Commission. The City Council is expected to appoint three people to five-member commission Tuesday night.

Directors of the Sanitary District's five-member board, who are otherwise publicly elected, receive a $221 per-service stipend. Fitzpatrick's replacement will serve until December 2014, or the remainder of his term.

—Bradley Zint

Twitter: @bradleyzint

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