The Special Districts Advisory Committee was created in August 1971 by San Diego LAFCO and consists of 16 members collectively drawn from the 59 independent special districts in San Diego County. Members serve four-year terms and are appointed by the independent special districts through an election process administered by LAFCO staff. Committee rules also allow the Committee Chair to appoint members to fill unexpired terms as needed. The Committee is tasked with providing feedback – including recommendations – on germane topics to assist LAFCO in fulfilling its regulatory and planning functions. The Committee meets quarterly with its current roster provided below.
Ms. Thorner began her tenure with Olivenhain MWD in October 1996 and was unanimously selected by the Board of Directors to become OMWD’s fourth general manager beginning January 1, 2007. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and a juris doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. She is a licensed attorney in the State of California and is certified as a Special District Administrator by the Special District Leadership Foundation. Currently, Ms. Thorner serves as Chair of the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission’s Special Districts Advisory Committee, member of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Regional Advisory Committee, and is on her fifth term as a member of the Association of California Water Agencies Federal Affairs Committee. Previously, Ms. Thorner served as Project Manager for the David C. McCollom Water Treatment Plant, member of the American Membrane Technology Association’s board of directors, and as a state and federal registered lobbyist. She resides in Carlsbad with her two daughters and serves on several local community and non-profit boards.
Ms. Nygaard has been Secretary of Tri-City Medical Center Inc. since January 2019. She was Treasurer of Tri-City Medical Center since December 2017. Ms. Nygaard served as an Assistant Secretary of Tri-City Medical Center from December 15, 2016 to December 2017. Ms. Nygaard served as a Secretary of Tri-City Medical Center since 2012 and also served as its Assistant Treasurer until December 15, 2016. She serves as a Director of Tri-City Medical Center. She was NCTD Past Chair, SANDAG Housing Element Committee; Former member – San Diego County School Board Association. Former member – League of California Cities Executive Committee. Carlsbad Republican Women’s Club Member. Citizens Advisory Committee for Regional Airport Authority. Carlsbad Unified School District/City Council Coordinating Committee Member. Former Member – Carlsbad Child Care Commission. State Assembly “Woman of the Year” 1999. Women’s Transportation Seminar San Diego Chapter “Woman of the Year” 2000.
Mr. Arant has been General Manager of the Valley Center Municipal Water District, located in north central San Diego County, since March of 1989. Prior to that he served as General Manager for the nearby Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District in Escondido from 1980 to 1989 and Assistant to the General Manager of the Walnut Valley Water District in Los Angeles County from 1973 to 1980. Mr. Arant serves as VCMWD’s representative on the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Water Authority. He was formerly a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of California Water Agencies serving as Chair of the ACWA Energy Committee and is a former Chair of the ACWA Local Government and Communications Committees. Mr. Arant has served on the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission Special District’s Advisory Committee since 1981. Finally, he was appointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board by Governor George Deukmejian, reappointed by Governor Wilson and served as a member, Vice Chair and Chair from 1983 to 1997.
Mr. Bebee is a civil engineer with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Washington and Lee University. He also holds two master’s degrees: one in civil engineering from University of Illinois and another in business administration from Cal State University San Marcos. He has been with the Fallbrook PUD 10 years and came from the private sector. He was hired as a consulting engineer working for Malcolm Pirnie (now Arcadis), an environmental engineering company with a primary focus in water and wastewater, where he managed large-facility treatment projects. Mr. Bebee was the lead in the job to begin the state-of-the-art process of using ultraviolet light to disinfect the water in Red Mountain Reservoir, the district’s 440-million-gallon reservoir.
Mr. Cox is the Fire Chief at Rancho Santa Fe FPD.
Mr. Gordon retired in 2014 after a successful international consulting career and is serving his second term (till 2022) as a Director of the Deer Springs Fire Protection District. Mr. Gordon’s professional career includes more than 30 years of experience and expertise advising clients faced with complex high stakes business disputes, litigation and investigations, especially in cross-border matters. Mr. Gordon has served as a consulting and testifying expert as well as a third-party neutral in a diverse range of business and discovery disputes involving many billions of dollars.
Prior to moving to San Diego in 2013, Mr. Gordon was based in Hong Kong from 2009 to 2012 as Managing Partner for a global NYSE listed expert services and consulting firm. Mr. Gordon's work in Asia included leading special committee forensic investigations for Boards of U.S. listed Chinese companies; cross-border discovery; allegations of business fraud; undisclosed related third party asset transfers and matters relating to allegations of foreign corporate corrupt practices.
Mr. Haynor has lived in Whispering Palms for 20 years. He has been a full member of the Morgan Run Club for 20 years and has served on the Whispering Palms CSD Board for two terms of four years each. Mr. Haynor has a B.S. from Denison University, an M.S. in aerospace systems from University of Southern California (USC) and an MBA in finance from USC. He is a Vietnam combat veteran having served in the US Air Force as a captain. Mr. Haynor has 30 years of experience in executive positions in banking and insurance and is the founder of three companies. He is currently the founder, chairman and CEO of SeniorQuote Insurance and serves on the City of San Diego Pension Board where he is chairman of the investment committee.
Mr. Kennedy is the General Manager for the Rainbow Municipal Water District (RMWD). He is responsible for overseeing all District activities within RMWD’s 80 square miles of service area. RMWD provides water and wastewater services to over 19,000 residents. Tom is a graduate of San Diego State University where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering, specializing in Flight Mechanics and Propulsion. Tom also holds a Masters in Public Administration Degree with a specialization in Public Finance from California State University at Fullerton. He has 30 years experience in water engineering and municipal utilities, beginning with work at San Diego State working as a draftsman for the Programmed Maintenance Department on campus and then at the City of Vernon, near Los Angeles. At Vernon, he managed the City’s Water Department as well as Wastewater Collections and Stormwater Management programs. In 1999, he began his tenure at Olivenhain Municipal Water District as Operations Manager. At OMWD Tom was instrumental in the construction and operation of an advanced membrane water treatment plant which was the largest of its type in the world when completed.
Sheryl Landrum is the Executive Director of the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County and the Vice President of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County. Sheryl has been with the RCDGSDC since 2009, and sits on many public and State committees involving forest health, fuels reduction, and fire prevention outreach and education. She is committed to the belief that Fire Safe Councils are one of the best ways to help communities stay fire safe, has assisted other RCDs in establishing them, and is active in developing legislation to reduce fire vulnerability within California. Working with local, state, federal, and tribal fire agency representatives, the FSC of San Diego County has helped develop and support thirty-eight local fire safe councils in San Diego County. The FSC of San Diego County programs include: community and private chipping, defensible space, dead/dying/diseased tree removal, fire behavior education, Community Wildfire Protection Plans, local fire safe council development and support, as well as advocacy. She and her staff currently manage over twenty-four grants in forestry, habitat protection and restoration, pollinator protection, carbon farming and healthy soils, watershed and youth education. When she is not working, Sheryl enjoys traveling, gardening, non-mandatory cooking, reading, and everything outdoors.
Mr. Lau has served as the General Manager for Santa Fe Irrigation District since January, 2019. Mr. Lau holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, a master's in civil engineering from the University of Colorado (Boulder), and an MBA from San Diego State University. Mr. Lau has over 25 years of experience in the water/wastewater industry. Previously, Mr. Lau served as Director of Engineering and Planning at Padre Dam MWD, where he was responsible for planning, engineering, capital improvements, and contract negotiations. Mr. Lau also oversaw the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, a new local and reliable water supply project for East San Diego County. Prior to Padre Dam, Mr. Lau worked at various private engineering consulting firms focus on water and wastewater projects. Mr. Lau also serves on the American Society of Civil Engineers, region 9, Water and Environment Committee, member of the San Diego Integrated Regional Water Management Regional Advisory Committee. He was a member of the Advisory Group on Feasibility of Developing Criteria for Direct Potable Reuse and served as the vice-chair for the Technical Advisory Committee for the Metro Wastewater JPA.
Mr. Martinez has served on the South Bay Irrigation District Board of Directors since 2018. He is a member of the Sweetwater Authority Vice Chair Board and a Green Housing Development Business owner. He is also a San Diego State University Civil Engineering alumni and a U.S. Army Water Treatment Specialist veteran.
Mr. Robak was first elected to Divison 5 of the Board of Directors of Otay Water District in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, 2012 & 2016. He has fought to keep rates fair and costs under control. He is also a commissioner of the Metro Wastewater Joint Powers Authority for the past 15 years. Mr. Robak is a real estate broker with sales and leasing of commercial properties through out San Diego County for over 14 years.
Director Scalzitti was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Padre Dam Board from October 1993 to January 1995. He was elected to his first four-year term in November 2000 and was re-elected to serve his fifth consecutive term in November 2016. Scalzitti served as President in 2002, 2008 and 2016 and Vice President in 2007 and 2014. He has been a business owner for 40 years and involved in property management for over 20 years. Scalzitti has served on many Padre Dam committees as well as committees for outside organizations. He currently serves as the District's representative and Chair on the San Diego Area Wastewater Management District and LAFCO's Special District Advisory Committee.
Mr. Scalzitti is the Division 5 Director of Helix WD. He represents the Board on: Chair of Helix Water Quality and Resources Committee, Vice Chair of Helix Parks, Land, Lakes and Garden Committee, Helix Advanced Water Purification Ad Hoc Committee, San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors, SDCWA Audit Committee, SDCWA Engineering Committee, SDCWA Imported Water Committee, Urban Water Institute, WateReuse Association San Diego Chapter, Council of Water Utilities, Cleantech San Diego and the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Scalzitti is the alternate representative to the Helix Engineering and Operations Committee.
Mr. Sims has been Fire Chief for the Bonita-Sunnyside Fire Protection District since January of 2019. He has 30 years of fire service experience with 25 of those years being at the BSFPD.
Mike was the President of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association’s Training Section for three years and is now the County Chiefs liaison to that Section, as well as a member of the Executive Board for the County Chiefs.
With an AS Degree in Fire Science from Miramar College and a BA Degree in Public Administration from Columbia Southern, Mike has been a lifelong learner. In addition, Mike has always had a keen interest in local politics and how they effect Special Districts. These have been the driving forces behind his involvement with this LAFCO Advisory Committee.
Mr. Thomas's professional career consists of working in local government for 27 years in both northern and southern California. The last 13 years before he retired, he was employed as Community Services Director for the City of Poway overseeing the parks, recreational and cultural activities of the City. He has been a Trustee of the Pomerado Cemetery District since 2004 appointed by the San Diego Board of Supervisors. Dearborn Cemetery is a public cemetery which serves the communities of Poway, Rancho Bernardo and portions of north county inland San Diego.