A 32-year-old farmer from Hickman will join the Turlock Irrigation District board of directors next month.
Directors this morning voted 4-0 to appoint Michael Frantz to fill out the remaining two years on the seat held by Phil Short, who died recently after more than three decades on the board.
The district received applications from 11 people for the term; a committee made up of directors Charles Fernandes and Rob Santos narrowed the choices down to three: Frantz, John Eisenhut and Michael Brem. Frantz and Eisenhut attended Tuesday morning's meeting to give their pitches to the board; Brem was unable to attend.
Frantz offered 13 years of experience running a farm with 100 employees. He said he's been interested in getting on the TID board for several years, and discussed the matter with Short a couple of years ago. Short advised Frantz then that the seat requires a lot of on the job training, and years to understand all the issues the district handles.
"I have no aspirations to use this is a stepping stone to higher office," Frantz said. "I hope to have a long career with TID."
He said he is equally concerned about maintaining water rights for farmers and keeping rates low for the district's electricity customers.
Board members said Frantz and Eisenhut, who works for a Merced County almond farmer, both were good choices for the board.
"They both seem perfectly well qualified and capable of contributing in a very positive way," said Michael Berryhill, who is leaving his own seat on the board to challenge Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, next year. Voters Tuesday selected new representatives to take his seat and that of Randy Fiorini, who also chose not to seek reelection.
Santos cited Frantz' enthusiasm and broad support when proposing the board appoint him. "I've gone back and forth on this," he said. "They both have great resumes, but Frantz edges out Eisenhut a little bit."
Fernandes, the board president, told Frantz he'll join the board Dec. 8, the same day the newly elected directors in districts 3 and 5 take their seats.
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.