Executive Director’s Message

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

The Executive Director’s Message covers the meetings of CWEA’s State Board of Directors on your behalf after each quarterly Board meeting. This issue highlights the January 29th and 30th Board workshop meeting.

ExecutiveDirectorMessage_Icons_CWEANews_500Board nominees approved for election
The following new board candidates will be up for member vote at the Annual Business Meeting on Friday, April 29th at CWEA’s 2016 Annual Conference in Santa Clara:


  • Vice President, South: Connie Leonard
  • Director at Large, North: Hala Titus
  • Director at Large/Treasurer, South: Chuck Greely
  • WEF Delegate Director, South: Michael Rosenberg

The candidates automatically appointed by the Board as chairs of their respective committees:

  • Incoming Northern Regional Committee Chair Steve Krautheim
  • Incoming Technical Certification Chair Sam Rose

For nominees bios, see http://www.cwea.org/pdf/board/BoardNominees2016.pdf

Your 2015-16 Board of Directors and Nominees

Your 2015-16 Board of Directors and Nominees


Highlighted updates from the Executive Committee
CWEA’s Executive Committee (EC) takes action on behalf of the Board between meetings when speed is needed. Here are highlights of EC action reported at the January Board meeting:

  • Approved an addendum to the Tri-State Seminar Mutual Participation Agreement with AZ Water and Nevada Water Environment Association to extend it a year so the three associations can explore converting to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) model.
  • The EC held its annual orientation with CWEA’s compensation specialist on CWEA’s pay philosophy, compensation study 2015 update, and recommendation for labor market rate adjustment for FY16-17 budgeting.
  • Approved CWEA signing on to the comment letter to the FDA recommending an end to the FDA’s medicine “flush list.” (See letter here: http://cweawaternews.org/cwea-joins-cpsc-to-ask-fda-to-stop-telling-public-to-flush-meds/)
  • Approved CWEA sending a letter of support for Silicon Valley Clean Water’s CEC Water & Energy Grant submission for the SVCW and Stanford University’s joint Staged Anaerobic Fluidized Bed Membrane Bioreactor (SAF-MBR) pilot demonstration.

Tri-State Seminar 2015 was a big success!
Jerry Jimenez, Tri-State Seminar Committee Past Chair reported highlights from the event:

  • 2,886 total participants
  • 800 exhibitors
  • 3,393 contact hours given

Mark your calendar now for the next Tri-State Seminar: September 20-22, 2016.

Certification strategic planning & emerging certifications
Regulator and employer interviews have started as part of the research phase of our certification strategic planning initiative.

Along with CASA, WateReuse CA, CA-NV Section AWWA, and State Water Board staff, CWEA participated in a California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) workshop to generate a white paper on recommendations to the State Water Board on potable reuse operator certification and training. Download the white paper http://cuwa.org/pubs/CUWA_PotableReuseOpCertWhitePaper_1-18-16.pdf .

We have also positioned CWEA as a possible partner with CA-NV AWWA in creating an advanced water treatment certification program. The Board gave a thumbs up to pursuing exploration of a partnership.

Committee vitality interviews
We discussed insights that board liaisons learned in their recent interviews with committee chairs to get a feel for their experience as CWEA volunteers and how well our committee structure is working. In our interviews we asked such questions as: How often does your committee meet and conduct its work? How well do you think the committee you chair helps people learn and grow in the practice area the committee covers? How does the committee generate and find new knowledge in its practice area? How connected do you think the committee feels to the overall direction of CWEA as a whole? How familiar is the committee with CWEA policies? With the Board? How is the committee doing attracting and engaging a critical mass of volunteer leaders? What support do you need?

Several committee chairs feel their committees are functioning well and fulfilling their purpose; several others feel their committees are struggling. The board will continue considering the committee chair input and possible ways to improve our committee structure and their effectiveness.

FY15-16 Key Priorities update


  • Marketing plan for year 1 is underway with media kits in place for all programs and two conferences (P3S and AC).
  • New Careers website, joinCWEA site and SYP site are in production.
  • Scholarship fundraising page: www.cwea.org/kbs is live and accepting donations to the fund.

Policy review

  • FP104 (Local Section financial reporting) is being updated for Board review, input, and approval by the Board’s Operations Committee (OPS).

21st Century Learning improvements and Annual Conference (AC) growth

  • We are analyzing updated conference loyalty data (21st century learning measures) and planning for AC16.
  • We are continuing to nurture the new Education Committee, made up of the committee chairs and vice chairs as well as task force chairs (about 30 people), which works on identifying content areas that should be the focus for AC.
  • We have revised our AC sponsorship offers and moved to a new model of fewer offerings that are high value in order to attract sponsors and improve the customer experience, for example microsite, Wi-Fi onsite.
    We also moved to three-tiered pricing for conference registration with some tighter timelines for savings. We are implementing it this year and then will learn and adapt as needed in future years. We are also adding a reduced speaker fee of $295 to encourage our speakers to stay beyond their talk to engage and continue the learning for the speakers and our other attendees.
    We’re adding education sessions to the exhibit hall (two learning centers in 2016).
  • We’re continuing improvements we made at last year’s conference, including a more engaging opening general session, coaching our speakers on incorporating 21st learning principles into their presentations, speaker evaluations, and offering attendees a mobile app on site.


  • The Laboratory Analyst certification program revalidation project timeline is on track for test launch in April 2016.
  • A panel of about 15 subject matter experts is reviewing and updating all four grades of the CWEA Environmental Compliance Inspector (ECI) certification exams and study guides. Although the exams will be updated, the Knowledge Skills and Abilities (KSAs) tested will not change. The updated exams are set to launch July 2016. Meanwhile, the current exams will continue to be administered or ECI candidates may reschedule their testing window to July at no additional cost.

Ambassador Project

  • We are reaching out to related organizations as part of our ongoing Ambassador project and attending conferences that draw GMs and other water quality leaders. Examples include:
    • CASA (California Association of Sanitation Agencies)
    • CUWA (California Urban Water Agencies)
    • CA NV AWWA (California Nevada Section of American Water Works Association)
    • NWRI (National Water Research Institute)
    • Baywork (Bay Area Water/Wastewater Workforce Reliability)
    • AZ Water & Nevada Water Environment Association


  • Staff and the Board’s Membership and External Relations Committee (MER) are working with committees to rework the nomination forms for 2016 award applications.

Special Water Science Award

  • MER is recommending a special water science award for the California Science Fair to help promote the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.

Financial indicators

  • Current indicators suggest that we are performing at or better than budget year-to-date in FY15-16.

Board is improving Local Section Financial Policy and Services
At CWEA’s January Board of Directors’ meeting we began identifying ways to improve the association’s financial policies. Our discussion focused on the policy known as Financial Policy 104 regarding Local Section financial management and reporting and was led by the Board’s Operations Committee. Revision of this policy is necessary to bring it up to current accounting standards and to update the policy to make financial reporting easier for our Local Sections.

As we go through this revision process we’ve prepared this Q&A to keep you up-to-date.

Q: Why is the Board reviewing financial policies?
As the policy-setting body for the association, the Board routinely reviews policies to ensure they are relevant and effective.

Financial policy 104 was last updated in 2010, and in recent years Board members have expressed concern that some Local Sections are struggling to submit financial reports as required by this policy. The Board is asking – How can we help Local Sections? How do we ensure all CWEA groups can consistently follow acceptable accounting procedures? How can we make this process smoother for all of us – Local Sections, Staff and the Board? In addition, some Local Sections are requesting new banking options and technologies that are currently not addressed by the policy.

Another driver is our desire to meet auditing requirements and to ensure we use current and consistent fiscal controls. The CWEA State Board and Local Section Board members take an oath to protect the financial interests of the association and its members. Proper financial controls and clear reporting are important for meeting our shared fiscal responsibility.

Finally, the Board would like a clear, fair, and consistent path for working with CWEA Local Sections that are not reporting their financial activities in a timely manner.

Q: What are the outcomes the Board intends to achieve by revising Financial Policy 104?
We want to preserve Local Section control over their budgets and expenditure authorizations.

We need to address the interest several Local Sections have in using additional banking services and technologies. We are already envisioning new website infrastructure that would make Local Section events easier and more efficient to run and the new policy will take that possibility into account.

We also need to build towards a better future that allows for improved volunteer and member experience. We want the CWEA volunteer experience to be enjoyable and rewarding. We have an opportunity to accomplish this by reducing the time and effort required by volunteers to report Local Section finances while maintaining Local Section control over their financial decisions. A more efficient process will help reduce follow-up steps and provide more time for Local Section leaders, staff and the State Board to focus on CWEA’s activities in the rapidly changing world of California’s water environment. An up-to-date financial policy is a key rung on that ladder.

Q: What are the next steps in this process?
The Board’s Operations Committee is working on a timeline for policy revision and is mid-way through the process. The process includes ways to communicate with Local Section leaders on the big picture revisions of the policy and get feedback on any fatal flaws before the policy is adopted by the Board. If you have feedback, send it to ebulletin@cwea.org and we’ll share it with the Operations Committee.

FY16-17 planning begins
The Board’s Planning & Program envelopment Committee will take the Board’s priorities and strategic planning input into account as it works with staff to develop the FY16-17 program of work and budget which will come to the Board for approval at its June meeting. Check CWEA’s Strategic Plan and its one-page Strategy Map at: http://www.cwea.org/dashboard. State committees are reminded to submit their work plans and budgets (if over $500) for FY16-17 by April 30, 2016. Local Section budgets are also due April 30, 2016.

Membership hit a record high at 9/30
We had 9,707 members as of September 2015 – help get our association over the 10,000 member mark – recruit a friend or colleague to join today. You can send them to www.JoinCWEA.org to learn more.

Clean FY14-15 Audit
The Board approved the FY14-15 financial audit, its accompanying management letter, and CWEA’s tax filing for FY14-15. Even though CWEA is a tax-exempt organization, we must make an annual tax filing at both the state and federal levels. Check the Spring Wastewater Professional to review the audited financials.

Resolution passed to thank CWEA President’s employer
The Board approved a resolution of appreciation thanking West Bay Sanitary District for supporting Phil Scott as CWEA President in 2015-16.

Dashboards–check out our progress
Check out our Strategy Map Metrics Dashboard to see how the association is advancing its mission through key project milestones and metrics. The Dashboard shows how we’ve progressed for the first half of the current fiscal year. The dashboards track performance indicators CWEA’s Board has identified to measure performance on our strategic plan.

Next Board Meeting
Our next Board meeting will be held in conjunction with the Annual Conference on April 25, 2016 in Santa Clara, CA.



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Megan Barillo

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