2010-10-14 / Community

Triunfo Sanitation District candidates offer range of skills

By Sylvie Belmond belmond@theacorn.com

Phil Janke Phil Janke The Nov. 2 race to represent ratepayers on the Triunfo Sanitation District board includes 11 candidates. The Acorn is introducing the contenders in a series of profiles that will conclude next week.

Triunfo board members administer the delivery of potable water in Oak Park, and oversee sanitation services for Oak Park, North Ranch, Bell Canyon, Lake Sherwood and western parts of Thousand Oaks.

Due to a change in election rules making all positions elected, without appointees, the Triunfo board of directors will have four seats on the November ballot.

Candidates elected to the board will serve four-year terms.

Candidates are incumbent Janna Orkney; Oak Park Municipal Advisory Councilmember Mike McReynolds; Thousand Oaks residents Henry Press, Tim Nanson, Ray Tjulander and James Wall; and Oak Park residents Bobby Ray Harris, Phil Janke, Dean Fields, Steven Iceland and Ron Stark.

James Wall James Wall Phil Janke

Oak Park resident Phil Janke said he’s vying for a seat on the Triunfo Sanitation District board of directors to ensure that the ratepayers receive the best value for their money.

Janke, 52, is chief financial officer for a large cardiology group in Ventura. He has degrees in business administration and finances.

“My main goal is to make sure that there is value received for the monies spent. We are hearing many stories about abuses when there is no independent oversight. This oversight is the main function of the board,” he said.

Janna Orkney Janna Orkney Janke, who’s making his first attempt at public office, said his experience managing profit and loss statements and setting salaries while working for a medical company will work to his advantage when the time comes to review water board budgets.

“I have run numerous medical groups over the years, both as independent practices and as practices owned and managed by hospital systems,” said Janke, who also oversaw construction projects during his career.

“I am continually reviewing and questioning expenses and trying to find less expensive ways to get a job done.”

Janke said both private companies and public agencies should value the work of their employees, but need to rein in unreasonable fees and salaries.

“A person may be doing an excellent job in a specific position, but that position has a maximum value to the organization,” he said.

Henry Press Henry Press According to Janke, the district must find ways to gain revenue without rate increases. He said infrastructure needs are one the biggest challenges facing the Triuno board.

He and his wife, Catherine, have two children. Their daughter Amber graduated from Oak Park High School three years ago, and son Spencer is a junior at Oak Park High School.

James Wall

James Wall of Thousand Oaks wants to serve his community and help oversee water and sanitation service on a panel that doesn’t engage in political partisanship.

If elected, the 57-year-old Wall said he would strive to find ways to conserve dwindling water resources.

Wall works as the manager of an environmental and safety department at Northrop Grumman. Among other things, he handles spill control, stormwater pollution prevention and industrial wastewater permits for the Los Angeles aerospace and electronincs company.

Meeting regulatory requirements will continue to be a challenge for Triunfo, Wall said.

“My experience complying with environmental regulations from an industry perspective has given me an appreciation for how important it is to properly manage the use of water sources,” he said.

In addition to working in the field of environmental and safety regulation, Wall has developed management systems that have led to corporate success.

Wall has no previous experience in public office, but said he looks forward to the opportunity to get involved. He said he’s prepared to listen to the concerns of Triunfo ratepayers.

He said voters should consider him for the Triunfo board because he doesn’t have a personal agenda—only a desire to do what’s best for the community and the environment.

“I also want to give voters of the Thousand Oaks area of Triunfo an opportunity to vote for someone from their area,” he said.

Wall and his wife, Janet, have lived in Thousand Oaks for 24 years. They have two grown daughters who graduated from UC Berkeley and UC San Diego.

Janna Orkney

Janna Orkney was elected to the Triunfo board in 2006 and said she wants a second term so she can continue her work toward cutting costs for ratepayers.

Orkney said that during her first term she helped to reduce wastewater rates by 10 percent. She also proposed that the Joint Powers Authority, consisting of Triunfo and Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, should seek alternatives for the treatment of biosolids in order to lower composting expenses.

The sludge is treated at the Rancho Las Virgenes composting plant for $5 million per year, but Orkney expenses could be lower if the biosolids were shipped to a Ventura County landfill where the materials would be burned to generate power.

In her second term, Orkney will propose hiring an independent manager for Triunfo to keep tighter control on administrative and operational services.

Currently, the district relies on contracted work provided by the Ventura Regional Sanitation District in Ventura.

“I favor the board creating more control over the agency contracted to supply administrative and operational services,” she said.

In addition, Orkney said the district should renegotiate contracts with Calleguas to lower recycled water costs.

“It is an old contract and needs updating to be fairer to Triunfo, who supplies the recycled water to Calleguas in the first place,” she said.

Orkney said she’s prepared to help Triunfo cope with challenging wastewater regulations and water shortages.

The retired businesswoman proposes opening a local office and sending regular newsletters to improve communication and services for ratepayers.

“I also want to hold more meetings in the Thousand Oaks portion of the district, where 40 percent of the ratepayers live,” she said.

Orkney has lived in Oak Park for more than a decade. She has three children and 11 grandchildren.

She said her strengths include an inquiring mind and a willingness to do proper homework before meetings.

“I am at ease asking questions,” and said she’s “received a tremendous education” in wastewater treatment, Orkney said.

Henry Press

While reviewing his water bill recently, Henry Press questioned a montly year-over-year usage comparison, which showed increased costs.

“I was reasonably certain that my family’s usage was constant for the past two years, so how did my water bill increase?” he asked.

He still doesn’t have the answer.

The Thousand Oaks chiropractor entered the Triunfo wa- ter board race because he wants to help improve public outreach oversee the district’s essential services.

“The public needs to have a better understanding of what the board does,” he said.

In addition to being accountable to ratepayers, Press said the district must strive to provide safe, clean water and waste management at the lowest possible cost.

“I enjoy environmental science and public health, and I am willing and able to learn what’s necessary to serve this community,” he said.

Press also wants to improve water conservation and oversee the expansion of Triunfo’s recycled water system. He looks forward to helping make decisions on the management of biosolids and the construction of a new water tank in Oak Park and exploring alternate energy uses without “unreasonable” rate increases.

“I shall put in as many hours as necessary to provide customers with one of the most effective representations and leadership of a board member,” he said.

A self-employed chiropractor for 33 years, Press also has worked as a state-appointed medical evaluator. He’s also served on several other advisory boards.

In the community, Press volunteered as a Scoutmaster and commissioner with the Boy Scouts of America. He was instructor for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, and served on the Westlake Village Cultural Foundation board of directors and Westlake Lake Management Association and Fishing Committee board.

“I love volunteer service and enjoy making a difference in the lives of those I serve,” Press said.

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