Alaniz Out As 29 Palms Water General Manager

TWENTYNINE PALMS — (February 9) Tamara Alaniz has been forced out as general manager of the Twentynine Palms Water District after 23 months in that position.
Alaniz, who resides in Apple Valley and had been serving in the capacity of program manager with the Mojave Water Agency since 2008, was hired as Twentynine Palms Water District general manager in February 2013, assuming that post on March 11, 2013.
There were no overt indications of discord between Alaniz and the board during her tenure. On February 4, however, the board met in closed session, after which it was publicly announced that Alaniz was leaving the district and that operations manager Ray Kolisz would replace her, for the time being.
No details for Alaniz sacking was given, nor was there an open acknowledgement that she had been, in fact, terminated. Rather, an announcement was made to the effect that her leaving was taking place as a consequence of “a “mutual agreement” between the board and Alaniz.
The Twentynine Palms Water District’s span of jurisdiction may at least partially explicate Alaniz’s abrupt departure.
Since 1958, the Twentynine Palms Fire Department has been overseen by the water district. The department grew to include two fire stations and seven firefighters to cover the 55 square miles within the Twentynine Palms City Limits and the 33 square miles of unincorporated county area that also falls under the water district/fire department’s 88-square mile jurisdiction. But the special tax imposed on residents within the boundaries of the Twentynine Palms Water District yields just $1,241,000 in revenue per year and the fire department needs to function entirely within those financial parameters. This has entailed the closure of one of the department’s fire stations and department personnel being cut back to five firefighters overall, consisting of the fire chief, two fire captains and two engineers. They are augmented by a single person clerical staff position that has been vacant through attrition since March 2013 and 28 reserve/volunteer firefighters, all of whom have attended a fire academy. Four of those are local volunteers. The others are aspiring firefighters from more distant areas in San Bernardino County, or Los Angeles, Orange or Riverside counties. Each serves a one-day 24 hour shift per week in Twentynine Palms. The 24 who do not reside in or near Twentynine Palms return to their distant abodes upon the conclusion of their shifts.
The oversight of a fire department is somewhat afield from Alaniz’s area of expertise.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and Master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis on water resource management in 2006. The professional training she received while with the Mojave Water Agency, consisting of her attending the William R. Gianelli California Water Leadership Academy, pertained entirely to water issues. With the Mojave Water Agency, Alaniz had been primarily responsible for public information provision and planning for a comprehensive regional water conservation program.
Alaniz’ departure comes as the board is considering rate increases for district customers.

Leave a Reply