Delta Tunnel: DCA’s new bylaws allow MWD staff person to be Executive Director

On February 18, 2021 the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (“DCA”) adopted new bylaws which allow the Executive Director to be a “member entity” staff person.

On March 9, 2021, the DCA met in closed session to consider employment of the current Executive Director, Kathryn Mallon. Mallon is working under a 5 year contract signed in January 2019, but the contract terms allow termination with 60 days notice.

The “member entity” staff person with the qualifications to be Executive Director is John Bednarski, the Chief Engineer for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD.) Bednarski has been leading MWD’s work on the conceptual design of the Delta tunnel. Bednarski previously led MWD’s work on the twin tunnels project.

If MWD did appoint a staff person as the Executive Director for the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, it would give MWD direct control of the design and permitting for the tunnel, as well as temporary entry permits and real estate acquisition for the project.  MWD would also directly oversee discussions with Delta residents on a Community Benefits agreement.

The Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority is a Joint Powers Authority originally formed in 2018 by the State Water Project contractors to design and construct the twin tunnels project. The DCA exercises the powers of the California Department of Water Resources through a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement, also signed in 2018.

The Department of Water Resources has authorized the DCA to continue work on the single tunnel project through a series of amendments to the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JEPA.) In June 2019, an amendment to the JEPA authorized the DCA to acquire property for the Delta tunnel project when any feature of the project is at 60% design.

Under the new bylaws, the DCA Executive Director will execute all property purchases for the DCA, oversee purchased properties, and also oversee the DCA’s public participation opportunities, including the DCA’s current discussions with Delta stakeholders about a Community Benefits agreement.

The DCA originally signed 7 year contracts in 2018 for survey, mapping, title, right of way, and real estate services for the twin tunnels project.  Work under these contracts has continued for the single tunnel project, with a total of $700,000 budgeted for Fiscal Year 2020-21.


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