Board of Commissioners

The District’s service area includes Geneva, Sudden Valley and the North Shore of Lake Whatcom. The District is governed by a five member Board of Commissioners who set the policies and rates of the District. The District is divided into five commissioner districts; each represented by a resident elected from that district to serve a six year term of office.  Currently serving as Commissioners are:

  • Laura L. Abele - Board President

    Position 1 - Sudden Valley // Current Term: 2022—2027

    Laura Abele is a long-time resident of Sudden Valley, and joined the District’s Board of Commissioners in September 2010. She has served as Board President since January 2016. Laura had previous experience serving on the Board of the Sudden Valley Community Association. Her professional background in office management, systems support and implementation, and process improvement provide a useful analytical viewpoint. Contributions to the community include service as the Chair of Sudden Valley Community Association’s Disaster Preparedness Committee and volunteer work for the Sedro-Woolley Fire Department, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and The American Red Cross.

  • Todd Citron - Board Secretary

    Position 2 - Geneva // Current Term: 2018—2023

    Todd Citron is the District’s longest-serving commissioner, having celebrated 20 years of service in 2018. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Todd spent two years in Bellingham at Western Washington University before receiving college and graduate degrees from Wesleyan University and Boston College. He spent a decade in New England, started a family, and then moved with them to Bellingham in 1989 and into the Lake Whatcom watershed in 1991. Todd had a career in computer programming, networking, repair and technical support for 25 years. Todd’s desire to preserve the health and beauty of the area is manifest in his focus on building a robust water and sewer district with efficient operating practices while distributing costs equitably.

  • Bruce R. Ford

    Position 3 - North Shore // Current Term: 2020—2025

    Bruce Ford has been serving the environmental business at the highest level for over 40-years, and has served the District as a commissioner since 2014. He has held state operator certification in several states and worked as superintendent of a large sanitary district water reclamation plant for five years. After seven years in the municipal sector, Bruce worked for the world-wide engineering construction company, Bechtel, for 33 years. He has in-depth experience in water and wastewater systems, environmental remediation, and project management.

  • Jeff Knakal

    Position 4 - Sudden Valley // Current Term: 2022—2027

    Jeff Knakal has owned a home in Sudden Valley since 2014 and resided there full time since his retirement in 2020 following a career in the aerospace industry. He was appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2022 to fill an opening. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and has served as a volunteer firefighter/EMT with the South Whatcom Fire Authority since 2021. His passion for the outdoors drives his desire to use his engineering and management background to help maintain healthy water systems and protect the health of Lake Whatcom. You will often find him rowing on Lake Whatcom or running the trails of the watershed.

    Commissioner Knakal was appointed by the Board in August of 2022 to serve until November 2023. He may run for election on the 2023 ballot, and if elected will then serve the remainder of the current term, through 2027.

  • John Carter

    Position 5 - Geneva // Current Term: 2018—2023

    John Carter has been a resident of the District since 1983, and a commissioner since 2016. For the past three decades, he has held positions in public finance including serving as Chief Financial Officer for both the Port of Bellingham and the City of Bellingham. He has served on the boards of a number of non-profits in our community and has been actively engaged in various economic development initiatives throughout the county.

Commissioner District Map

Click the link above for a map of commissioner districts. You can also visit the Am I In the District page to enter your address and find out which commissioner represents your home.

Requesting Action by Board of Commissioners

Typical requests for Board action include appeals of the General Manager’s decisions and requests for variances to standard District policy or any other business that requires a decision or direction from the Board.  Requests to the Board of Commissioners must be received in writing and should include the name of the requester as well as their address, telephone number, and a brief description of the problem along with the preferred remedy.  Requests must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month in order to be included on the agenda for that month’s first meeting. The first meeting of each month is held on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.  The requester is welcome to attend the meeting, but attendance is not necessary to have the issue considered.  Following the meeting, the requester will receive a letter informing them of the Board’s decision.