Challenger questions Water District 49 Commissioner’s meeting absences

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Water District 49 serves downtown Burien and several surrounding neighborhoods.

by Ralph Nichols

Most – but not all – water and sewer district meetings are fairly routine. Commissioners take care of the ratepayers’ business, then go home.

But the Aug. 28 King County Water District 49 commission meeting proved to be an exception.

Water District 49 serves downtown Burien and several surrounding neighborhoods.


Dave Lutz

Commissioner Dave Lutz, who is seeking re-election to a six-year term, was criticized during public comment at the meeting by his challenger, Roger Gee, who claimed Lutz has been absent too many times – 21 meetings – to adequately serve district ratepayers.

“I don’t think the residents of this district want a part-time commissioner going through the motions,” Gee said in prepared remarks while confronting Lutz. “What that tells me is that you don’t care. I can understand now why I was asked to run. There has to be a change.”

Lutz received 54.4 percent of the vote in the Aug. 6 primary to outdistance Gee, who finished second with 27.61 percent.

But, countered Lutz, he had been absent numerous times and had also missed work for medical reasons.

“You guys know about it and that’s why I missed meetings,” Lutz said to commission President Tom Jovanovich and Commissioner Ray Brickell. “I don’t feel I have to explain myself but now I feel I have to.”


Roger Gee

“How in the heck would you keep a job?” Gee asked Lutz after noting he has missed 21 meetings since 2008.

“In your statements at the last meeting, you were adamant that you have never had an unexcused absence,” Gee said. But “public records show you have had eight unexcused absences. Why? On top of that you have had 13 excused absences. How in the world does the district hope to get things done?”

Lutz explained to The B-Town Blog following the meeting that his absences were the result of three separate accidents in recent years and medical complications stemming from them.

In a motorcycle accident Lutz dislocated a knee and suffered other injuries.

Two other accidents were work related. A long-time builder, he got a piece of metal in a hand while cutting aluminum track for a closet, and then broke an ankle when a rotted scaffolding board broke and sent him falling one story to the ground.

“Personal and politics is two different things,” Lutz added as why he doesn’t talk about the reason for his meeting absences.

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11 Responses to “Challenger questions Water District 49 Commissioner’s meeting absences”
  1. TbC says:

    I feel it’s a legit concern.Burien council has had similar problems. Hard to do the peoples business when your not there.

  2. LCG says:

    In addition to his lack of attendance at meetings as a commissioner, I have personally witnessed his conduct in a public setting as unbecoming that of an official representing my water district. We need someone who will be present at meetings and conducting themselves appropriately in public. I question his ability to make prudent and sound decisions…

  3. Zorro says:

    I too have seen how he carries himself in public and question his ability to govern not only himself, but our water district.

  4. T.E. says:

    Perhaps someone should ask commissioner Lutz why us rate payers had to spend over $140,000 on cost overruns for the 8th Pl. S.W. water main replacement project. Apparently its not a big deal to him as there has been no known disciplinary action taken on the manager of the district.

  5. Tina Larson says:

    Give me a break Lutz! If you’re so prone to accidents that you’ve cumulatively missed an entire years worth of water district meetings maybe you shoulda stepped down! Sounds like a bunch of poor excuses to me! Here’s the reality of the situation, no one pays attention to their water district until their rates change. Ratepayers tend to vote for the incumbent as a result of their disinterest…..until they have to pay higher rates, then we all start grumbling. Let’s nip this in the bud. Water District 49 has projects that are both over budget and overdue. It only makes sense that the rates will have to increase to cover the costs. Given Lutz’s inability to attend the meetings where budgets and deadlines are discussed and resolved he should not be elected to serve another term. Roger Gee started attending these meetings as a concerned ratepayer, he’s seen a problem and he’s addressed it by running for Commissioner #2…..he’s a local small business owner and a I trust him. He’s got my vote.

    • John Poitras says:

      Out with the old complacent incumbent and in with Roger Gee.

      I agree its a no brainer>>>

      Lutz needs to step down >>>he has proven himself unfit to serve.

  6. Lance McIntosh says:

    While I understand personal matters and schedule conflicts, I think we have to look at intent here. On one hand we have a long-standing Water Commissioner who has missed 21 meetings in the past year (which must be nearly ALL of the WD meetings!) and on the other hand we have an area resident spending his free time attending Water District meetings. I think it’s a no-brainer. If someone willingly devotes their spare time being concerned about an issue that most of the community ignore I can’t see how we could go wrong in electing him.
    Also at issue here is the fact that only 1500 votes were cast for this position in the primary. My neighbors, that is pitiful. I encourage you to do some research, as I have been doing, and learn about the impact that Water District 49 has on your daily lives. Get your friends and family to care about the quality and cost of our water supply and tell them to vote for the right candidate in the upcoming election. It matters, even if it’s boring.

    • LCG says:

      The “spare time” a commissioner spends attending meetings is compensated time and has other financial benefits as well. I would not consider this necessarily “donated” time.

  7. Tom says:

    mudslinging over a water commissioners job ….REALLY??…. sounds like a hidden agenda must be in play here

  8. Emj says:

    I agree Tom.. Looks like a lot of misinformation being passed back and forth here! 2 injuries in 6 years in that line of work is pretty minimal. I support Dave Lutz!

  9. VLR says:

    Are you kidding me? I really hope none of you have ever or will ever have any health problems that would cause you to miss work! Bad karma with all of you with a hidden agenda! SHAME ON YOU

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