Bryan Pilkington, the controversial president of the North San Joaquin County Water Conservation District, has resigned.
Pilkington sent a one-sentence letter to board attorney Roger Masuda explaining his retirement was due to ongoing health concerns and was effective immediately. Earlier this year, Pilkington missed several months of district meetings due to heart surgery.
In an unlikely progression, Pilkington went from the district’s most vocal critic to its top elected official.
He earned strong loyalty from supporters who admired his quest to challenge what he branded improper fees on district landowners.
But he also drew ire from many critics who felt he was crippling the district with political infighting and fiscal carelessness.
Among his detractors was Ed Steffani, retired former manager of the district.
“For the good of the community and of the district I am glad he has resigned,” said Steffani. He expressed sympathy for Pilkington’s health problems, but added that he did not agree with the board president’s politics.
Others, too, applauded the resignation.
“I would say that’s a positive development and will help the district in securing water,” said Joe Merhton, who served as a board member until 2010.
The board will soon begin the process of securing a new president.
“I am really looking forward to the board working together and moving forward,” said Joe Petersen, a current director. He hopes some solid, solution-minded people apply for the position, he said.
Attempts to contact Pilkington were not immediately successful.
Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at firstname.lastname@example.org.