McKinleyville CSD hopefuls emerge

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – Two candidates have entered the race for three open seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors.

Former district manager Greg Orsini and frequent online information poster Scott Binder have both announced their candidacies. 

There are two four-year seats, now held by John Corbett and Mary Burke, and one two-year seat, now held by Shel Barsanti.

Both Corbett and Burke, who hold four-year seats, have announced they are not seeking re-election. Shel Barsanti, who was appointed to fill a seat vacated by the late George Wheeler, holds a two-year seat. She couldn’t be reached for comment.

The deadline for signing up to be a candidate would have been Friday, Aug. 7, but with incumbents not seeking re-election, the deadline will be extended to Wednesday, Aug. 12. 

The only requirement to be a candidate is that you have to be a registered voter living within the district. Board members are paid $150 per regular board meeting, which are typically held once a month.

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Familiar on Facebook

Binder is probably best known for posting meeting agendas and other announcements on social media, including the McKinleyville Community Watch page.

“An ongoing goal for me is the continuance of keeping the public informed as to what government is doing on their behalf,” Binder said. 

He said this was sparked, in part, by the controversy in 2016 over the county’s plans to build a social services hub, called The Center at McKinleyville, on Heartwood Drive. 

“It became apparent to me that the public at large is unaware and uninformed as to projects such as this. Since then, I’ve taken it upon myself to inform the public of board agendas, projects, and other details that would affect McKinleyville,” Binder said.  “I read virtually every board packet and meeting minutes, research details that I need to clarify, and am able to present and answer questions for interested group members.”

Binder describes himself as “semi-retired after 23 years of working in the wholesale food distribution industry but plan on re-entering the workforce when the right opportunity presents itself.”

Binder is the vice chair the MCSD’s Recreation Advisory Committee and frequently attends both MCSD and McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee meetings.

“I’ve been encouraged to run for the MCSD board in previous election cycles; in this phase of my life I now believe that I can give the position the diligence and attention that it deserves,” Binder said.

Binder said he is seeking the two-year seat and was scheduled to officially sign up as a candidate Monday, Aug. 3.

Former manager

Orsini retired July 17 after working for the district for 30 years. He started at the lowest rung, digging ditches and moving irrigation pipe, and eventually worked his way up to being the manager.

“I want to give back to the community,” said Orsini, who is seeking a four-year seat on the board.

Orsini announced his candidacy at the July 29 meeting of the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee, which he served on as the MCSD manager.

Orsini is a unique candidate, in that he knows the nuts and bolts of the district, both literally and figuratively.

Orsini would like to lend his expertise to a $3.4 million sewer pipe upgrade project. He said there are different ways the project can be constructed, with possibilities having district staff do some of the work, and contracting out other parts.

Another project Orsini would like to see come to fruition is the proposed community forest on land now owned by Green Diamond on the east side of town.

“The community forest is one of those projects I’m really looking forward to moving forward with,” said Orsini, who was working to secure funding for the project before he retired.

The former manager said another important thing for the board is to make sure everyone gets to provide input.

“Everyone in McKinleyville should have a voice,” Orsini said. “The more ideas that are brought to the table for consideration, the better the results will be.” 

Election Day is Nov. 3.



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