For Immediate Release Contact: Naseem Farooqi
July 9, 2019 Public Affairs Manager
WEST VALLEY WATER DISTRICT WELCOMES STATE AUDIT
State Agency Zeroes in on Alleged Misconduct by Former President Dr. Clifford Young
RIALTO – Dr. Michael Taylor, current President of the West Valley Water District Board of Directors, today welcomed an audit of its organization conducted by the office of the California State Controller. At President Taylor’s direction, the Board of Directors previously approved an independent audit by an outside private company with President Taylor, Vice President Crowther and Director Olinger voting in favor of the audit and Director Dr. Clifford Young and Director Greg Young opposing an independent audit. Taylor is grateful for a thorough review of the agency’s finances and looks forward to the results of both audits.
“The West Valley Water District serves over 80,000 residents and we pride ourselves not only on our efficiency but proper stewardship of ratepayer dollars as well,” said Dr. Taylor. “West Valley Water District’s mission is to provide our customers with safe, high quality and reliable water service at a reasonable rate and in a sustainable manner. I am confident that any outside review will demonstrate and prove our commitment to customer service and safeguarding customer payments, along with allocations of finances from our state partners.”
Dr. Taylor noted that it is a mandate of the California State Controller’s Office to audit special districts to ensure appropriate accountability. The state controller is the chief financial officer for the State of California and responsible for the accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources.
The controller also independently audits government agencies that spend state funds and administers the payroll system for state government employees.
“Transparency is key to ensure rightful spending and effective delivery of service,” concluded Dr. Michael Taylor. Taylor added by stating, “However, my tenure has shown me that the previous district leadership under Director Dr. Clifford Young likely will demonstrate a failure of responsibility and ethics under his direction. Simply, his leadership was not fiscally prudent.” Taylor pointed to allegations outlined in a lawsuit against Director Dr. Clifford Young that details his apparent engaging in unethical hiring practices that violated district protocol. Suzanne Cook, former executive sued Dr. Clifford Young stating, “I was shocked that Dr. Young would purposefully violate the code of conduct for personal benefit.”
“Young rejected job candidates recommended by the district’s interview panels and pressured the general manager to hire his preferred candidates, many of them Young’s former colleagues from Cal State San Bernardino,” reported a June 2018 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article on the lawsuit filed against Young by a veteran water district employee.
President Dr. Taylor concluded by stating, “With credible reports of misconduct, the new leadership team of West Valley Water welcomes this state audit. It is my sincere hope that there will be a demand for accountability following this audit and that any misappropriation of funds will be re-paid. Clifford Young must be held to the standards that every official on this board is required by law to abide.”
In addition to maintaining high standards for our existing water supplies, the District is also looking at innovative ways to bring new sources forward to help boost our water supplies during the drought and to meet future water demands.
West Valley Water District (WVWD) is a special district that provides drinking water service to approximately 80,000 people, spanning from both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. In a 31- square-mile area, WVWD serves portions of the communities of Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Rialto, San Bernardino and Jurupa Valley.