Commission Meeting 9-28-2021: Increased security measures help with recreation safety

As the heart of the 2021 recreation season winds down, Grant PUD's Security Manager Fallon Long highlighted the security group's efforts throughout the season to keep visitors safe as she reviewed a comparison of reportable incidents this year compared to 2020.

There has been a visible drop in the number of noted rule violations at Grant PUD's recreation areas. Rule violations consist of a variety of incidents. Long said the top contributors include speeding, prohibited use of golf carts, and a combination of visitors bringing glass bottles and drinking in restricted areas.

To date, 147 rule violations have been noted this year. In 2020 the security department reported 319 total violations.

Long attributed several steps the department has taken to this positive trend. Including additional signage, new barriers, and increased level of security around Grant PUD's project areas.

A risk assessment conducted by an independent consulted showed that there was a need for increased security presence and measures at the utility's recreation sites. Grant PUD's own security personnel, contracted security company Star Protection Agency and the Grant County Sheriff's Office have jointly focused on coordinating and dedicating resources to help manage crowds. Especially during high usage times, like concert and holiday weekends.

Long noted that the local Homeowner Associations near Grant PUD's recreation areas have provided positive feedback about these increased security measure and additional presence.

Vandalism incidents, such as graffiti and damage to restroom at Grant PUD recreation areas are trending higher this year compared to last. This year has seen 59 vandalism incidents reported thus far, compared to 30 for all of 2020.

Long said most of the vandalism has been gang related graffiti. The department engages with law enforcement agencies as necessary when gang activity is identified.

See the presentation on pages 67-81 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion beginning at 2:03:50 of the commission audio.

Commissioners also:

-- Announced that they had completed interviews with all four of the final candidates to fill the District 2 commission post vacated by the death of Commissioner Dale Walker. The commission will seek public comment on the four finalists through Oct. 8. They'll deliberate in public session at their Oct. 12 commission meeting and hope to choose a new commissioner by Oct. 26 to fill the remainder of Walker's term through December 2022. The four finalists are:

  • Michael McKee, of Marlin, who is self-employed
  • Terry Pyle, of Moses Lake, who is an instructor at Big Bend Community College
  • Ronald Reis, of Moses Lake, who is employed at REC Silicon
  • Patti Paris, of Moses Lake, who is a retired accountant and chief financial officer

Comments will be received at 1 p.m. during the Oct. 12 commission meeting, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by U.S. mail at Grant PUD Commissioners, PO Box 878, Ephrata, WA 98823.

Hear the audio at 3:02:35 on the commission recording.

-- Received an overview from John Mertlich, senior manager of Financial Planning and Analysis, of the presentation planned for upcoming hearings on the 2022 budget. The presentation will include an explanation of the budget initiatives and process, strategic initiatives, forecasted spending and revenue and potential scenarios. Commissioners will receive a detailed view of the budget before hosting the public hearings, Oct. 12, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and Oct. 14, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. All hearings will be virtual. The public may join the virtual meeting by clicking here or listen in and ask questions by calling 509-703-5291 and keying in the conference ID 904 546 858# Commissioners expect to vote on the 2022 budget 11/9/2021.

View the presentation on pages 28-66 of the Presentation Materials. Hear the audio at 1:43:45 on the commission recording.

-- Heard from Public Affairs Supervisor Chuck Allen that Grant PUD is on track to achieve communications and public-outreach milestones this year, including surpassing an ambitious target of a greater than 65%, county-wide take rate for fiber-optic service. As members of more than a dozen industry associations, the Public Affairs or External Affairs teams monitor the rulemaking process for the state's zero-carbon policy, the Clean Energy Transformation Act. They take a leadership role in industry communications and celebrate public power through education. The "Art of Dam Building" exhibit, which opens Oct. 8 at the Moses Lake Art Museum, celebrates Public Power Week with a collection of more than 90 historic and art photos taken by Grant PUD staff photographer Carl Lewis during the construction of Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. The exhibit runs through Nov. 11.

View the presentation on pages 113-130 of the Presentation Materials. Hear the audio at 3:38:15 on the commission recording.

--Heard from Senior Manager of Operational Excellence Daniel Blazquez who highlighted the recent activities and initiatives of the department's efforts to help the organization with safety, reliability and efficiency.

Within the department's Corrective Action Program, Blazquez reviewed the new condition reporting system that recently launched. Blazquez said the new reporting system will help identify areas for improving processes and increasing efficiency throughout the utility.

Blazquez also provided a status overview of this year's integration projects as well as six areas of focus planned for 2022.

See the presentation on pages 104-112 of the presentation materials. Hear the full discussion beginning at 2:27:55 of the commission audio.

--Received an update regarding the efforts and key initiatives of the Leadership and Organizational Development Department. Activities discussed include:

  • Prior and planned activities hosted by Grant PUD's Employee Association. The association helps provide a venue for employees to have a sense of connection with one another while looking for opportunities to serve each other and the community.
  • An update on the department's individual development program for employees interested in enhancing their professional growth.
  • An overview of the utilization of the utility's educational reimbursement initiative.
  • Information regarding a recently launched organizational health assessment. The survey is conducted every other year amongst employees and is one component that is used to measure the health of the organization.
  • A look at the planned areas of focus among the department for 2022.

Full details are available on pages 82-103 of the presentation materials. Hear the discussion at 4:13:00 of the commission audio.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

-- Change Order No. 3 to increase a contract with Olsson Industrial Electric by $1,643,319 for a new contract price of $13,455,101 and an extension of 60 days with a new completion date of 5/13/2022. The contracted work will ensure power redundancy during upgrades to address equipment end-of-life risks and increasing equipment failure rates at Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams. Work is planned to begin this fall. For detailed information see pages 13-15 in the Commission Packet.

-- Change Order 31 to increase by $403,069 a contract with GE Steam Inc., formerly Alstom Power, to cover COVID-related delays to turbine/generator unit upgrade work at Priest Rapids Dam. For detailed information, see pages 26-27 in the Commission Packet.

-- A $17,420 payment to Insulation Masters, Brandon Land for spray insulation requested at the Priest Rapids Hatchery to cover work beyond the scope of the original quote. For detailed information, see pages 42-44 of the Commission Packet.

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