A slate of reform candidates calling themselves the GLAD team is running for the Rio Linda-Elverta water district board.
The name doesn't seem to fit in a district where disputes are common, and the candidates say that's exactly the point. They say they will bring a more positive attitude to a district long plagued by financial and management problems.
Tuesday's election will be closely watched by regulators and officials at the district's insurer, both of whom have concerns about its finances and legal troubles.
The GLAD team is made up of four candidates who each have a last name included in the acronym Paul R. Green Jr., Matt Longo, Duane Anderson and Brent James Dills.
Green, Anderson and Dills are running for three seats with 4-year terms, against one incumbent, Cathy Hood; a former board member, Mary Harris; and a retired U.S. Army officer, John Ridilla.
The fourth GLAD member, Matt Longo, will face board member Vivien Spicer Johnson, in a race for a 2-year term on the board.
Dills said he and the other GLAD candidates didn't know one another until they registered for the election. Then they realized they wanted to take a different approach from past board members, he said.
"We're newcomers," said Dills, a manager at the California Department of Water Resources. "We're not interested in the old feuds."
Conflict has been costly for district. The tiny district has an operating budget of about $2 million, but it has been sued several times by past employees in recent years.
The Association of California Water Agencies/Joint Powers Insurance Authority cited the district's legal problems earlier this year when it rescinded its employment practices coverage.
In December, the authority will consider whether to continue that decision, and whether to remove the remaining parts of its insurance coverage, said Walter Sells, its chief executive officer.
Election results will be part of the authority's decision-making process, he said.
He said he didn't know which election results would be most beneficial for the district to retain its coverage. However, district board member Hood said she's been told the authority wants her and the other incumbent out to reduce friction on the board.
She said that's not fair because she was in the minority when the board voted last year to fire General Manager Joe Sherrill, who has since filed lawsuits against the district.
Hood also said the district has had some important accomplishments, including installation of a new well that brought its water pressure back in compliance with state standards.
The Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission is also interested in the election results. The commission has questioned the district's future viability, as has the district's auditor, who has routinely said there "is doubt about the district's ability to continue as a going concern."
In a recent report on the district, the commission said, "It appears the board is reluctant to raise rates to meet the ongoing financial needs of the district. This could result in bankruptcy or receivership proceedings."