Sterling Natural Resources Center

John Mura, general manager and CEO of the East Valley Water District, displays renderings of the Sterling Natural Resources Center at a meeting of the Highland Kiwanis Club on Thursday, Aug. 16.

On Wednesday, March 11, the East Valley Water District (EVWD) Board of Directors unanimously approved a 10 percent performance award for General Manager and CEO John Mura. The board then approved amendments to the district’s employment agreement with Mura, extending his contract for three years with annual salary increases.

Both decisions were met with applause from the small group of regular attendees in the audience.

Mura’s 10 percent award amounted to $21,148.60. His new contract agreement includes a raise of 5 percent the first year (starting April 2020), 3 percent the second year and 3 percent the third year. All raises are based on his current salary.

Mura’s new contract also includes increases in vacation days, 30 to 35 in the first year, 37 the second year and 40 the third year.

Boardman James Morales Jr. pointed out that the district is changing and the job of leading the district is rapidly growing in complexity.

“This agency has been changing in complexity for the past seven or so years, particularly as we move into the next two or three years. We will have a completely different modus operandi,” Morales said. “We’re going to be taking on a state-of-the-art $180 million treatment plant. That takes a continuity, a certain engine to drive that. My opinion is we want to lead this district⎯in transformation⎯to be in a position to control our own destiny; This, I suspect will be one of the final pieces of the puzzle to get that done.”

The annual process for evaluating Mura’s performance was extensive, with board members taking more than two weeks to evaluate his performance on a list of criteria including decision-making, management, organizational skill, the budget and more. He was also evaluated on the accomplishment of the district’s annual goals.

“This is a comprehensive review, and I can tell you Mr. Mura’s performance is spectacular,” said Morales. “We’re blessed and glad to have him as part of this team and our community.”

“Everyone who works on staff is very pleased working for John, and there’s a strong mindset among the board that John has more than satisfied his goals and objectives for last year,” said Vice Chairman Phillip Goodrich.

In addition to the contract amendments, the board also approved new goals for Mura to complete in the next year.

Those goals include:

• Continue analysis for potential construction of an additional surface water treatment plant

• Proceed with efforts to complete the consolidation of mutual water companies

• Evaluate the benefits of restructuring current bonds to take advantage of the financial market

• Initiate the cost of service analysis for wastewater collection and treatment in preparation for the operations of the Sterling Resource Center

• Update the district’s succession plan to better understand potential organization changes and growth

• Develop internal efforts to communicate the district’s brand and the importance of protecting its high expectations

• Complete the installation of smart meters throughout the district

• Begin developing operational plans and identifying contract services necessary for the Sterling Natural Resource Center

• Initiate efforts to establish contractual relationships regarding high-stream food waste to prepare for energy generation at Sterling

• Increase district engagement with regional and industry activities to share the success experienced through the district’s vision

“It’s really rare to find someone who has the talent of John Mura who also has the sincerity that he has for this organization and community,” said Boardman Chris Carrillo. “I can tell you that John and his staff, his leadership, his strategic thinking, his visionary approach has saved this district and its ratepayers millions of dollars.”

Former Highland councilwoman Jody Scott spoke during public comment saying, if she could, she would clone copies of John Mura and place him at the head of several other organizations and agencies throughout the community.

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