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Three vie for flood control seats

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Two incumbents and the organization’s former executive engineer are vying for two directors’ seats on the board of the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority in Tuesday’s general election.

Board chairman James Fahey of Corrales is seeking his second six-year term while Steve House of Rio Rancho is running for his third term.

Also running is David Stoliker, who served as executive engineer for the flood authority from 1997 to 2011.

The at-large seats will go to the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes.

Fahey was elected to the SSCAFCA board in 2011 and is in his second year as chairman.

An orthopedic surgeon, Fahey and his wife moved to Corrales in 1997 to join the orthopedic faculty at UNM Medical School, where he retired in 2003. He served on the Corrales Village Council from 2006 to 2010.

He said the severe summer storms in 2006 that flooded Corrales piqued his interest in flood control and SSCAFCA and he became a liaison between the village council and the flood authority, regularly attending its meetings.

“I wanted to be sure SSCAFCA knew the village of Corrales still had issues with water running down the arroyo,” he said.

He said he being a flood control board member has been a “whole new challenge,” but one he enjoys.

“We have to make people aware that flood control is very important to protect their property and also their safety, in some cases,” Fahey said.

Looking ahead, he wants to see the flood authority move forward with the projects planned with the proposed $21 million bond issue.

“I think what all of us on the board would like is to get this question approved so we can go ahead with the additional bond funds,” he said.

House was elected to the board in 2005.

Born and raised in Los Alamos, he received his bachelor of science degree in civil and agricultural engineering at New Mexico State University.

He is a licensed professional engineer in New Mexico and Arizona. He lives in Rio Rancho with his wife and two children.

House said his background and experience in engineering adds depth to the board and that his re-election would provide stability for the group.

“I’m the only engineer on the board and it makes for a good mix for the board to have an engineer,” House said. “Plus, I like doing it.”

In the past 12 years with the SSCAFCA board, House said he’s happy with the numerous projects the organization has placed throughout the county.

“We got the sports complex dam built so that was a huge safety project and we’ve been able to, over the past three or four years, leverage a lot of state and federal monies to get a lot more projects built,” House said. “We’re forming a tighter partnership with the City of Rio Rancho and the county and I think that will be beneficial to all the residents here.”

Stoliker officially retired at SSCAFCA in 2010, but went back to work for the authority on a one-year contract.

After leaving SSCAFCA, Stoliker taught an environmental science class at North American University for a semester before “super-commuting” to Chicago to work for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on hydroelectric projects, keeping his home in Corrales.

For the past year and a half, he has commuted to Farmington to work as a senior engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation, assisting with the Gallup-Navajo water supply project.

Stoliker came to SSCAFCA from the Bernalillo County Public Works Department, where he was engineering manager.

As executive engineer at SSCAFCA, he said he oversaw the sportsplex dam, helped put a number of arroyos into public ownership, developed public-private partnerships and worked on projects at Haynes Park, and the Ventana and Venada arroyos.

“We got flood control started in the area,” he said. “Before I got there, we owned nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

He said his motivation to run for the board is simple.

“I want to do more good stuff for the public,” he said.