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 Irrigation board suspends two workers

  KID members demand an explanation

  Herald and News by LACEY JARRELL 2/11/16
H&N file photo Mark Stuntebeck
Klamath irrigators were angry after the Klamath Irrigation District board of directors voted, without explanation, to place two district employees on administrative leave.
The vote was held after an executive session Tuesday evening at the KID office.
About 50 KID irrigators showed up at the KID office, but were forced to wait outside the boardroom while the board discussed the decision in executive session, which is closed to the public.
After the meeting was moved in a regular session, which is open to the public, audience members filed into the boardroom and the board voted for the suspensions. The board then closed the meeting without taking public comment or explaining why the staff members were placed on leave.
After the meeting adjourned, one irrigator in the audience said, “We’re just curious why these folks went on administrative leave.”
“Legal counsel has advised no comment,” said KID board chairman Brent Cheyne.
“I know that if my livelihood gets affected, I’m going to do everything I need to protect it,” said another irrigator in the audience.
Cheyne, and board members Grant Knoll and Ken Smith, voted in favor of placing KID Manager Mark Stuntebeck on administrative leave. Board member Dave Cacka voted against it. Member Greg Carleton was absent.
The board members voted 3-1 to have KID Assistant Manager Darin Kandra assume Stuntebeck’s duties while he is on leave.
The board also voted 3-1 to place office manager Rachelle Gates on administrative leave.
Board members did not say how long Stuntebeck and Gates will be on leave.
“Right now, as a KID irrigator, I don’t feel like I have a good understanding of why they are making any of the decisions they’ve made in the last few months,” said Trisha Hill, co-owner of Gold Dust Potatoes. “It’s frustrating and disappointing.”
The Herald and News has filed a request for records pertaining to the suspensions.


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