Why the Recall

In two formats, we present the reasons for recalling four Board members — a summary (below) and a footnoted, fully-documented explanation (button).

Summary Version

We refer to the targets of the recall effort as the “Dominant Faction.” In a seven-member Board, the Dominant Faction currently consists of Jim Nelson, Teri Nigretto, Mike Cleveland, and Leith Templin.  Nelson and Cleveland were also on the 2023 Board.

The Dominant Faction Blocked Access to EWUA Financial Records

The primary reason we are seeking the recall of four directors of Eastsound Water Users Association (EWUA) is because General Manager Dan Burke (GM) has declined to allow multiple Treasurers access to the Association’s financial records. This refusal to permit the Treasurers to perform their fiduciary duties has been supported by the Dominant Faction. In multiple efforts, several people have attempted to cause the GM and the Dominant Faction to permit access. All of these efforts have been met with strong opposition and hostility. We believe that a successful recall is the only way to remove the obstruction to the EWUA financial records and allow proper Board oversight of the GM. 

Member Money Has Been Lost

A forensic report commissioned and paid for by EWUA strongly indicates that money was taken by the General Manager without proper authorization. Rather than recover that money, the EWUA Board paid the estimated $25,000 in attorney fees incurred by the GM in a threatened lawsuit. And, in 2024, the Dominant  Faction gave him a 25% increase in total compensation. On top of this, the EWUA Board has spent at least $150,000 in legal and accounting fees since the forensic report was delivered. Additional legal costs are likely as long as the Dominant Faction remains on the Board. The forensic report made twelve recommendations that the EWUA Board publicly and falsely stated had all been implemented. The GM opposed the adoption of the forensic investigator’s recommendations and, in fact, demanded that they be modified. In spite of the public statement that all recommendations had been implemented, most of them never actually were.

Election Results Have Been Manipulated

The 2023 election of EWUA directors was seriously flawed in several ways, including the failure to state that three Board seats were open for election instead of two. EWUA declined to correct the errors prior to the election and has directed the EWUA attorney to fight any attempt to correct those errors. In 2024, the Dominant Faction attempted to correct the consequences of the errors by appointing Jim Cook to the Board. Jim Nelson has made four signed, conflicting statements to the Court on when that appointment took effect. After the Board issued a press release stating that Cook had been appointed, it subsequently blocked Cook from voting for nearly a month until Leith Templin could be appointed to the Board, assuring the Dominant Faction that they would continue to have the majority vote. 

Minutes of the Board Have Been Altered

Carol Anderson was elected to the EWUA Board in November 2023 and was then elected as Secretary/Treasurer of EWUA at the December 2023 meeting. Anderson subsequently took minutes and notes at each meeting, including a closed session on January 9, 2024. But, the Dominant Faction opted to replace the Anderson minutes with minutes taken by a staff member, over the objections of Anderson. In a signed affidavit with the Court, Anderson states that the minutes currently on the EWUA website are not a complete and accurate reflection of the events that took place at the Board meetings.

Important Actions Have Been Taken in Closed Session

At multiple Board meetings, the EWUA Board has taken important actions during closed sessions. This includes holding votes on whom to appoint to the Board as well as on the 25% compensation increase given to the General Manager. There are no published minutes that reflect the appointment of either Jim Cook or Leith Templin. On January 9, 2024, the EWUA Board held a “closed executive working session” at which two votes were taken. There are no accepted minutes that reflect what happened at this meeting.

Why Recall?

Those of us who have not only served on the 2023 and 2024 Boards but also witnessed their actions believe that the only way for EWUA to operate properly and for Board members to perform their fiduciary duties to the Members in compliance with the bylaws and state laws is to recall the Dominant Faction and replace them with responsible, responsive individuals.