Newhall County Water District board members unanimously approved Steve Cole to take over as general manager of the utility, subject to approval of a contract.Cole has been acting general manager since February, when former general manager Ken Petersen resigned. “He will certainly deal with things appropriately,” Karin Russell, director of finance and administration, said of Cole. “It was a unanimous decision”, Russell said Friday. “(The board) feels sure he can handle the job.” Board members OK’d Cole for the job at Thursday night’s board meeting. The Search for a general manager had gone on for a month. The district stirred controversy in January 2004 by declaring there to be less water available in the Santa Clarita Valley than reports stated, a move some labeled and effort to halt growth. Peterson went o work for the Castaic Lake Water Agency after leaving Newhall County. Cole holds a master’s degree in environmental science from California State University, Northridge.