Piepho, 49, who has served on the CSD since the board’s inception in 1998, has decided not to seek re-election in November.
“It’s been such an honor to serve this community and I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished, but it’s time to get some new blood on the board and for me to take a little breath,” said Piepho. “This is an exciting new chapter and I look forward to it. It’s just another chapter for me, not the end of the book.”
Current CSD President Kevin Graves praised Piepho for his service. “David brought a tremendous amount of history and knowledge to the CSD,” said Graves. “His tenure on the board has taken the town from a small MAC (municipal advisory council) to a town that provides sewer, water and landscaping services to the community. I have appreciated all his hard work and diligence and I believe at the end of the day, David Piepho has done his best for Discovery Bay.”
During his 12 years on the board and five years prior on the MAC, Piepho has done much to forge the future of Discovery Bay. His accomplishments include participation in the formation of the CSD, getting the town its own ZIP code and helping to establish the community’s identity. He also currently sits on the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission, an organization that decides land boundaries.
“Really what I am most proud of is putting the community on the map, both figuratively and literally,” said Piepho, who is married to Contra Costa County Supervisor Mary Piepho. “When I first moved out here in 1981, Discovery Bay was a recreational, weekend community, and something I’ve enjoyed is helping to take the small community and build and form it into the town it is today. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunities I have had.”
The longtime Discovery Bay resident and Alameda County firefighter said his time on the CSD has afforded him the opportunity to create change and help steer the direction of the town, but it has been a learning experience as well.
“I’ve learned a lot in my time on the CSD,” said Piepho. “And I’ve learned a lot about diplomacy, because it’s not just about dealing with the people in front of you at meetings – the meetings are less than 10 percent of the job – the real work is done on a daily basis, the networking and the people that you work with.”
But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Piepho, who has often been a lightning rod for criticism, both personally and as a member of the CSD board. His strong and tenacious personality has occasionally frustrated residents and board members alike.
“I think I’ve served with David on the board longer than any other director, and he has always worked hard, come prepared and genuinely cares about the community,” said CSD Director Ray Tetreault. “We may not have always agreed on everything, but we have always been able to work together. He has done a real service to Discovery Bay and I wish him the best.”
Piepho concedes that politics can be difficult (“government is a tricky thing,” he said) but believes the benefits far outweigh the negatives. “I’ve learned about the frustrations of government and that there are limitations,” Piepho said of his time on the CSD and other boards. “But it’s also about listening, like listening to the 10 year-old who wants to see lights in the park at night. Early on, one of the (county) supervisors asked me if I had developed a thick skin yet. I don’t ever want my skin to be so thick that I stop listening. I don’t ever want that to happen.”
As for what he what he would like to see happen to the community in the future, Piepho believes there are a number of issues he expects to come before the town’s leaders. “Discovery Bay is in its awkward teenage years right now but it’s growing fast,” said Piepho. “I think it will eventually become a city. It’s just a matter of when, and I believe that growth will be an issue and continue to be an issue. The community center is so close and is one of those things I had hoped would be done by now, but I think it is so far along that it will be done.”
But when it comes to Piepho’s own future, the picture is not as clear. Poised to retire from the fire department after 28 years of service, he will most likely return to public service on some level.
“We come from one of the most political families in Contra Costa County, and the bloodlines of public service run deep,” said Piepho, whose father-in-law was former state senator John Nejedly. “I imagine at some point the future will involve public service, but I just don’t know right now.
“My time (on the CSD) has been a very positive and gratifying experience and I personally want to thank the citizens of Discovery Bay for allowing me to represent them on the many issues that have shaped the community. It’s been a great ride.”