The Ukiah Valley Sanitation District has named Joe Tait General Manager. In his new role, Tait will be responsible for navigating the district through its lawsuit against the City of Ukiah, while also restructuring the district and driving innovation and best management practices to provide ratepayers with more technologically advanced and efficient services.
“Bringing someone on with the depth of experience and industry credibility that Joe has is huge for the continued success of District,” said Jim Ronco, Chairman of the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District Board. “He brings more than 30 years experience working with City Governments and Utility and Corporate Management teams and his list of accomplishments and successes are long. We are thrilled that he’s bringing this level of credibility and success to the District. This is exactly what we need right now.”
Most recently, Tait served as interim General Manager of the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority (SLRIWA) in Pauma Valley, California. He was originally hired by the SLRIWA Board of Directors, who represent five tribes, to bring closure to the 1988 Federal Settlement Agreement, which was signed by President Obama in December 2016 and appropriated by President Trump in April of this year. Tait was tasked with providing the foundation for acceptance of significant monies and new supplemental water from the Federal Government and establishing governance policies and operational procedures for the Water Authority to implement and follow.
“Joe’s experience with SLRIWA is very similar to what the District is experiencing with the City of Ukiah,” said Ronco. “The District was forced to file a lawsuit in September 2013 against the City of Ukiah for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties after the City rejected the District’s offers to settle. We expect a similar restructuring once this is all over and Joe’s experience will be crucial.”
Previously, Tait served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California. Under Tait’s leadership, MWD garnered two prestigious national and state awards: from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) in Washington, D.C. for Competitive Utility Excellence, and from the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) for Excellence in Resources Management. In 2011, Tait completed a three-year service contract as City Manager and Utilities Director for the City of San Juan Capistrano. Before that, he previously served as Chief Administrative Officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake City.
Throughout his career, Tait has also served on public utility boards and committees as well as professional industry association boards.