GRASS VALLEY, Calif. November 15, 2017 – During NID’s last Board meeting, General Manager Rem Scherzinger said, “We just started recording our phone calls, so that we can address them.”

Scherzinger went on to say staff was looking into other possible changes to keep the staff and public safe. His remarks were related to a letter adorned with numerous swastikas comparing the NID Board to the President of the United States. The letter, allegedly sent by a district customer, was referred to law enforcement.

The recording of calls had not been discussed or voted on by the Board.  YubaNet inquired as to when the recording of calls began – according to staff the first day was November 8, 2017. That same day, the per-recorded greeting message was updated to reflect the call recording. Besides Scherzinger mentioning the change in passing, no official announcement has been made.

A number of changes to the conduct of public meetings will be on a future NID Board agenda. The district has no privacy policy on their website and no written privacy policy exists, according to Board Secretary Kris Stepanian.

Legal requirement satisfied

California’s wiretapping law is a “two-party consent” law. California makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. [source: Digital Media Law Project] To satisfy the legal requirement, callers to NID’s main business line and the emergency line are now informed that “All calls may be recorded for quality assurance.”

If you don’t want to be recorded, your only option is to hang up, there is no opt-out.

NID was recently lauded by several non-profit organizations for acceding to their requests to live-stream the board meetings. Access to recordings was hailed as “greater openness and transparency for the governance of water, arguably the most important resource in our community.”

The next NID Board meeting will be on Friday, Nov. 17 at 9:00 am. The special meeting is scheduled to “discuss concerns and alternatives regarding the Scotts Flat Spillway gate.”

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