Mailbag: Utility needs better management

The Glendale News-Press was being much too polite in mentioning in their editorial that all Glendale Water & Power needed was a full-time proofreader (“Utility needs proofreader,” Dec. 5).

Yes, with the 33% increase in user rates, the utility can well afford one. Perhaps employing one could save the utility much needed embarrassment and ridicule; however, the bottom line is not pointing the finger to a trainee, but to the utility management team itself, starting at the top with the general manager.

Apparently, it is most difficult for the management team to raise their hand and apologize that a goof has been made, correct it so it won’t surface time and time again, and move forward. Yet time and again as we read of problems from the reporters of News-Press — first with Escott Norton on the 3300 block Buckingham Road in the Chevy Chase Estates area and the “disappearance” of 1.5 million gallons of water.

As if the first time wasn’t enough, a repeat performance came with Phyllis Marks and her total bill of $31,585 for a supposed 6.8 million gallons of water. Apparently, it is most difficult to learn from our mistakes.

With this bill and the one for Norton of $5,474, perhaps the utility can rebate some of those hefty rate increases to their customers. I wanted to get the full picture of the Norton incident before commenting on it, so I made a site visit a couple weeks back on the 3300 block of Buckingham Road. With an 1-inch pipe connecting Norton’s pipe to the mainline, nowhere was it visible in showing or leaving any traces whatsoever that there was a run off of this water close to say 100 feet away down the drain toward Chevy Chase Drive. I did walk this portion myself.

Yet the $64,000 question still remains unanswered as to what happened to the water. It is hard for 1.5 millions gallons of water just to disappear. A full report on this has yet to appear. The only consultant that Glendale Water & Power apparently failed to ask was the Magic Castle people.

Yet a better attitude on all of this couldn’t have been better displayed by Norton, who exhibited a positive attitude on this despite all of the harassment he went through trying to find a workable solution to this problem. He came up with his own calculations and solutions in fixing the problem, yet in trying to do this, barricades were put up in front of him by the utility’s management team. No remedies came from the Glendale Water & Power Commission. It wasn’t until Norton got to the mayor and City Council did he find much needed relief. Hard to find any better water customer than Norton, especially given all the pain, suffering and harassment he had to go through in order to get a workable solution to solving this problem, which he took the initiative in doing.

Kudos to Norton, who really should be made a member of the utility’s management team. Yes, the bottom line is not a proofreader who is needed, but much needed reshuffling of the top management level by our city manager. The only area that Glendale Water & Power excels at is raising rates.

Also kudos to Public Works Director Steve Zurn for finding new areas and ways to use recycled water.



Editor’s note: Cornell is a member of the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee.

Yousefian was a better fit

I would like to add to Chuck Sambar’s letter (“We miss you, Bob and Sue!” Dec. 21).

We as a family, George and Helen Lucas, were 100% for Bob Yousefian. The wrong people are usually voted in. I feel Yousefian would have fitted the voters’ shoes much better than Ara Najarian’s ideas. My how one can change once they make the seat, hot seat.

My best to you, Bob and Sue. You gave us hope, Bob.


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