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DeMeo to chair FPUD board in 2024

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Jennifer DeMeo will be the Fallbrook Public Utility District board president for 2024.

The Monday, Dec. 4, FPUD board meeting included the election of the 2024 board officers. A pair of 5-0 votes selected DeMeo as the board president and Don McDougal as the vice president. DeMeo is FPUD’s Subdistrict 3 representative, and McDougal is the director of Subdistrict 4.

“I am honored to be chosen again to lead this FPUD board for the next year as we change water wholesalers. Thanks to the work of each of our board members and Jack Bebee's leadership over the past four years this action will truly bring savings to FPUD customers going forward,” DeMeo said.

San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission approved a reorganization, July 10, in which FPUD and the Rainbow Municipal Water District would detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and join the Eastern Municipal Water District contingent upon approval by the FPUD and Rainbow voters. The voters of both districts overwhelmingly approved the reorganization Nov. 7. All of the detachment process has occurred since Bebee became FPUD’s general manager in 2018 after being named as the acting general manager in 2017.

DeMeo, who has been on the FPUD board since 2016, had previously been elected as the 2021 board president. She was the vice president for 2023 when Charley Wolk was the board president. DeMeo was also the FPUD board vice president in 2019 when McDougal was the board president and in 2020 when Ken Endter served as president, and she has also chaired FPUD’s Personnel Committee.

As the board president, DeMeo will be appointing the members of FPUD’s standing committees. In addition to the Personnel Committee, the district has a Fiscal Policy and Insurance Committee and an Engineering and Operations Committee. DeMeo plans to retain the existing standing committee members to maintain continuity while FPUD changes wholesale suppliers.

DeMeo is originally from Long Island. She and her husband, Lee, moved to Escondido in 1998 and then resettled in Fallbrook in 2009. DeMeo's leadership has also included children's ministry at North Coast Church and with Fallbrook Village Toastmasters Club. DeMeo worked at Potter Junior High School as a behavioral aide in special needs classrooms this past year and expects to be assigned to a new elementary school in Escondido next year. She is also working on a book to be published soon about faith and inspiration in overcoming loss and adversity.

In 2016, FPUD transitioned from at-large elections to elections by territorial unit. The division where DeMeo lives had no incumbent for the November 2016 election. Her husband has also been involved in community activities, including the Fallbrook Community Planning Group and the Fallbrook Union High School District board, and she sought to add a public position to her community activities. She was elected, making DeMeo the first new FPUD board member to be elected by territorial unit and also the first female elected to the FPUD board although the third female to serve on the FPUD board. Patricia Knock was one of the Fallbrook Sanitary District members who joined the FPUD board after the two districts consolidated in 1994 and Mary McNeil was appointed to a vacancy. McNeil served as vice president but not president, so in 2021 DeMeo became the first female to serve as the FPUD board president. DeMeo was re-elected to the FPUD board in November 2020.

Among the items DeMeo has learned since joining the FPUD board is that there is a statewide organization called the Association of California Water Agencies. The water agencies which participate in ACWA also participate in a joint powers insurance agency. ACWA and ACWA JPIA are legally separate entities although they work with each other. DeMeo became FPUD’s representative to the ACWA JPIA board in 2018. ACWA has 10 regions, and San Diego County and Orange County are in Region 10. The Region 10 board has seven members, and this summer DeMeo was elected to one of those seats.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

 

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