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Grant PUD board selects commissioner to fill vacant position

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | October 15, 2021 1:00 AM

EPHRATA — Terry Pyle, of Moses Lake, was selected Tuesday as the new Grant Public Utility District commissioner.

Utility district commissioners unanimously confirmed Pyle was their top choice from among four candidates.

The resolution appointing Pyle is planned for the Oct. 26 meeting, and he’ll be sworn in. Pyle will finish out the remaining term of the late Dale Walker, who died Aug. 10, ending in December 2022.

Commission chair Larry Schaapman said the current commissioners wanted Walker’s replacement to reflect some of the priorities Walker stood for. Walker was committed to keeping the district in a strong financial position, and he also supported the fiber optic buildout.

The PUD has been installing fiber optic lines throughout the county since 2008. The buildout is still continuing, with a tentative completion date of 2024.

The candidates were Pyle, Patti Paris, of Moses Lake, Ronald Reis, of Moses Lake, and Michael McKee, of Marlin. Schaapman said all of them indicated support for the fiber optic buildout.

Commissioner Tom Flint said Pyle and Paris stood out for him due to their financial backgrounds. Pyle is a management consultant and teaches economics classes at Big Bend Community College. Paris was the chief financial officer for a local business before retiring in 2015.

Commissioners Judy Wilson and Nelson Cox said they, too, thought Paris and Pyle stood out due to their expertise in finance.

“For me, Mr. Pyle rose to the top because of his experience and knowledge, and his general enthusiasm, for understanding the history of the PUD and what we stand for,” Wilson said.

Schaapman said all the finalists were strong candidates, a statement echoed by the other commissioners. Schaapman said he favored Pyle because of his financial background, but also because Pyle understood the importance of the PUD’s relationship with the Wanapum tribe.

Schaapman said when Pyle was interviewed, he listed the relationship between the Wanapum and the PUD as one of the areas needing improvement. That relationship is important to the PUD’s license, he said.