JUNE 2, 1997

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Local News

Water commissioner repays overdue accounts

Walter Backstrom by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
Overdue cash advances and credit card charges in the amountof $307 were paid off at 1:45 p.m. May 30 by Woodinville Water District Board Commissioner Walter Backstrom.
   He owed the district $300 for a cash advance he received April 23 for a May 7-9 trip to Boise which he didn't go on due to a court appointment and $5.72 plus interest on calls made on a district credit card in September, 1996.
   "He paid it all off. We're fair and square," said water district general manager, Bob Bandarra.
   Still, a state auditor will be looking at alleged misuse of funds and equipment by Backstrom. The water board also moved to make Backstrom's travel as commissioner subject to prior approval until the matter was cleared.
   Backstrom was upbeat about his chances before the auditor. "I look forward to the state audit because I will be vindicated," Backstrom said. He said that the travel fix had affected his ability to perform his job, which he said included sitting on a 13-member state commission.
   Backstrom said the board was attempting to "micro-manage" him. But he said he would continue to represent the district by paying his own way to functions.
   "On my own, I'll work to keep rates low and function as a commissioner, even if it has to come out of my own pocket," Backstrom said.