The Grays Harbor Public Utility District has filled a key spot on its senior leadership team by hiring Schuyler Burkhart to serve as the District’s Engineering Manager. Burkhart comes to Grays Harbor from Tacoma Power, where he serves as a senior supervisor in the Transmission & Distribution section. His first day with the District will be March 31st.
These days, many people have two jobs, but not often do they intersect. Certainly not the way they did on Wednesday for Grays Harbor Public Utility District Commissioner Dave Timmons.
In addition to representing District Two on the Grays Harbor PUD Board, Timmons is also the Deputy Police Chief for the City of Aberdeen. On Wednesday morning, Timmons was participating in the response to an armed man barricaded in a home on the 2000 block of Harding Road in South Aberdeen. When law enforcement asked PUD crews to cut power to the home in an attempt to end the standoff, Timmons and PUD Line Superintendent Steve Easton devised a plan to shut the power off to the home, without impacting surrounding homes.
“At first it appeared the only solution was to turn off all the power on Harding Road, which would impact around 350 customers,” Timmons recalled. “I wasn’t really comfortable with impacting that many homes, so Steve came up with a way to cut the power at the pole.”
The Grays Harbor Public Utility District is warning customers to be aware of a phone scam in which callers are posing as PUD employees and demanding payments on overdue accounts.
PUD Customer Service Manager Randy Schmidt says the PUD has received several reports from businesses and individuals who have received calls from people claiming to be employees of the PUD and threatening to shut off a customer’s power if they do not immediately pay a certain amount of money.
“Customers need to beware of scams like this,” said Schmidt. “If you receive a call demanding immediate payment, we urge you to immediately contact PUD staff to verify that the call was genuine. Under no circumstances should you make a payment of any kind to callers without first checking to see that they are legitimate representatives of the PUD who can verify your account information and exact amount owing, both current and past due.”
Law enforcement agencies say their offices have received similar reports of callers claiming to represent television and phone providers, public utilities and magazine companies, demanding immediate payment. Other scams include forged bills and parking tickets left on cars and in mail boxes. Recipients of such fraudulent calls and mailings are advised to first contact company officials to verify the claim and to contact the office of your local law enforcement agency.
The Grays Harbor PUD Board of Commissioners today approved changes in the structure of the upper management at the District. The new structure calls for four Chief Officers reporting directly to the General Manager, with each overseeing the operation of different areas of the District. Under the old structure, various department heads and supervisors reported either to the General Manager or to the Assistant General Manager. The Assistant General Manager position is eliminated in the new system.