I previously told viewers I would resume positing meeting information with the August 31st Special Meeting which was orchestrated by Director Ross with the assistance of Directors Skoien and Kinsella, however, going a little further back might be helpful in understanding this continuing but intentional mess.
Considering the potential for legal action by particular former employees I am not going to get into the “nuts and bolts” of what actually happened (many, many pages) but can assure you I was extremely disappointed with some of the activities of sitting directors and their distorted perception of responsibilities.
Since my Presiding Officer’s Report was already read for the record I see no harm in posting it now. I stumbled a couple of times with words, but this is verbatim after all. LOL Here we go:
AUGUST 20, 2012 Meeting
PRESENT: President Bill Kinsella, VP Lew Richardson, Director Victor Afanasiev, and Director Emery Ross.
ABSENT: Director Mark Skoien
a. PRESIDING OFFICER’S REPORT:
“Our District is once again without a General Manager and currently out of compliance with the California Department of Public Health regarding employee staffing and reporting. We are also in violation of the MID agreement regarding Outside Merced Irrigation District Place of Use reporting.
This reoccurring lack of a GM situation is a result of what the Mariposa County Grand Jury diagnosed as a “dysfunctional” board of directors and I totally agree with that assessment. I believe micro-managing directors have again placed personal interests above that of the district and this flies in the face of California Government Code Section 61040 subsection (C) which states in part:
All members of the board of directors shall exercise their independent judgment on behalf of the interests of the entire district, including the residents, property owners, and the public as a whole in furthering the purposes and intent of this subdivision, division, I’m sorry, not subdivision.
Now this is my part – not the government code: officious intermeddling, intimidation through threatened disciplinary actions, improper individual investigations, changing an attorney drafted disciplinary action agenda, and the general lack of support of the GM by particular directors, all this and more, will continue unchecked unless the public demands accountability from their representatives. There are members of this board who refuse to allow this district to operate as designed which is with a general manager. The reason for this is simple, the lack of GM, the lack of a GM provides the environment for continued micromanagement of employees and operations according to their personal interests, and perhaps even, benefit.
District, business of this District should take place at this District in public meetings – no where else. Director Ross has a number of requests on this agenda, please read them and study them carefully considering the actual reason and motivation for each.
In the past we have had burglaries and illegal entries into buildings yet later discovered missing records that were never reported to the Sheriff’s Office. A possible arson of our administration building and lost records. An insurance loss rate of 288% over the baseline of 70%. We have a 26% water loss rate. When will enough be enough? We need John Turner to continue his professional and effective leadership and that is on the agenda which we will discuss later. OK, thank you for that.”
RESULT: IGM JOHN TURNER RESIGNED DUE TO A
LACK OF BOARD SUPPORT
OK, so we now move forward despite this major setback right? Wrong.
EMERY WANTS REORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD?
You see, when Bill Kinsella resigned as board president on August 9th, 2012 following public questions and criticism of his role in personally investigating a complaint against our former IGM, I became presiding officer by default according to the Brown Act. This was the recorded report out following that previously held Closed Session Meeting on August 9th, and how I proposed to proceed.
VP LEW RICHARDSON: “…and then ah one other thing that had happened that would be a report out was that Director Kinsella stepped down as president, so with the Board’s permission I’ll just continue as Vice President and preside over the meetings until November when the board can do its re, you know, its reorganization, after that time.”
Director Ross: Well we might want to do it before that but yeah fine
VP Richardson: Well if that’s what the board wanted to do that’s fine
LDPCSD Attorney Raymond Carlson: I’m hearing that Bill resigned as president?
Director Ross: Yeah
VP Richardson: Correct
Carlson: Did he resign from the board?
Director Ross: No
Director Afanasiev: No
VP Richardson: No
Carlson: NO? OK
August 20th, 2012 Agenda Item
p. BOARD REORGANIZATION:
Request: By Director Ross – Board reorganization due to resignation of Board President.
Emery Ross is so pathetically transparent. Please consider the following:
1. A new board will soon be installed after the November election;
2. Director Ross has resigned as director once and as president twice. The last resignation as president was recommended by the Grand Jury following an Under Oath interview and admonition not to repeat what transpired during that investigation;
3. Mark Skoien resigned as Vice President on his own volition and has stated he would not chair meetings;
4. Director Kinsella was harshly criticized by the next Grand Jury for his failure to appropriately conduct meetings. Prior to Director Kinsella’s resignation he was criticized in public at the meeting for his activity in the IGM resignation matter and then later resigned during a Closed Session.
5. Please also note that California Government Section 61043 clearly addresses such a situation by stating: “the vice president shall serve in the president’s absence or inability to serve.
61043. (a) Within 45 days after the effective date of the formation
of a district, the board of directors shall meet and elect its
officers. Thereafter, within 45 days after each general district or
unopposed election, the board of directors shall meet and elect the
officers of the board of directors. A board of directors may elect
the officers of the board of directors annually.
(b) The officers of a board of directors are a president and a
vice president. The president shall preside over meetings of the
board of directors and the vice president shall serve in the
president’s absence or inability to serve.
(c) A board of directors may create additional offices and elect
members to those offices, provided that no member of a board of
directors shall hold more than one office.
Note also that this section states the specific time board reorganizations shall take place (45 days of election or annually) which makes sense in respects to the continuity of a board. This helps to prevent unnecessary and repetitive politically motivated officer changes.
(Ironically, Director Ross’s second resignation as president is a perfect example. First he tossed the gavel and resigned in another one of his tantrums but a short while later with the support of Directors Keefe and Skoien essentially voted himself back in as president only to once again resign because of the Grand Jury’s recommendation that he step down as president.
Yes, that makes three resignations from district responsibilities which is precisely how he earned the title:
Considering all of this, I seriously doubt Director Ross honestly believes (or possibly understands) his proposed reorganization is legal, appropriate or in the best interests of this district and is only playing another one of his childish games for attention and attempted assumption of control while intentionally obstructing district business and progress.
DIRECTOR EMERY ROSS CALLS SPECIAL MEETING (with BOARD REORGANIZATION OF COURSE)
I had been told the new Administrative Office was due to arrive at 0700hrs on August 30th, so naturally I was there a bit early with my cameras and tripods. Naturally the estimated time of arrival was off by a few hours which is understandable considering the logistics involved in moving such structures from Southern California. Which secondary roads would permit safe vertical clearance, prevent traffic bottle necks, were safer, etc.? The details must be carefully worked out with CalTrans, CHP and other related agencies.
Modular installation workers, CSD employees, Pinnacle Emergency Management President Leo Grover, and others patiently waited for the new building arrival. Just a little after 0900hrs what was thought to be a white pilot truck (with an emergency yellow light attachment on the roof) headed up Merced Falls Road from HWY 132, cameras were ready but it turned out to be a false alarm. It was Mr. Ross who simply parked his “emergency light clad” personal truck along Merced Falls Road and he and Betsy headed into the office with paperwork in hand.
Finally just after 0930hrs the building arrived. Once temporarily parked near its future position, the structure sure took the unattractive sting out of our empty depressing lot.
EMERY’S SPECIAL MEETING
The paperwork Emery and Betsy marched into the office that day was a request for a special meeting with a 24 hour notice posted for the public. Emery had sent me a few emails regarding calling such a meeting and I explained why I thought it might be more efficient to wait for other issues and decide them all at once, but Emery persisted with his Special Meeting with his two agenda items: Board Reorganization (changing or assigning positions of President and Vice President) and the budget.
Those customers who received the “Board Packet” (materials in support of requested agenda items) created by Emery and Betsy Ross, received that which is so typical of Mr. Ross:
only half the story as to how events actually unfolded, but I’ll address those matters later.
EMERY ROSS’S AGENDA POSTED
After Emery’s Special Meeting agenda had been posted I learned there was another matter our attorney suggested the Board handle immediately. Since there was a time limit the matter could not wait for the September 17th, regular meeting so I decided (with attorney approval and recommendation) the best way to proceed would be to handle the urgent matter prior to Mr. Ross’s agenda items. (Reorganization/Budget)
The attorney provided the pertinent Government Code section of the Brown Act which specifically authorizes hearing emergency non-agenda items, in this case, a request from a State Department that the Board respond to a claim by a former employee. Simple right? Wrong! Not so simple in Emeryland.
According to Directors Emery Ross and Mark Skoien, hearing such a matter not on the agenda would constitute a Brown Act violation. WHAT? Ross and Skoien refused to hear the matter despite my reading the Government Code Section and repeatedly explaining it was not only permissible under the Brown Act, but required to timely respond to another State Department. I repeatedly advised it was attorney recommended but Ross and Skoien refused to hear the matter.
PECULIAR AND SELECTIVE LOGIC
Both Ross and Skoien remained steadfast in not hearing the attorney requested matter because it was not on the “ROSS AGENDA” but here’s the kicker, another issue which was also late for Ross’s agenda– the potential hiring of a General Manager – was discussed. WHAT?
The Brown Act Section authorizing non-agenda items to be heard is Government Code Section 54956.9. I had inserted the section but as is so typical with legal verbiage it took up 1-1/2 pages, so to shorten this posting and save you some time reading here’s the link to the material if you are interested:
Directors Ross and Skoien simply decided not to perform their duty for one issue (former employee), yet proceeded with the second non-agenda item (hiring of a GM) .
DIRECTORS ROSS & SKOIEN believed the attorney’s advice and Brown Act Section authorizing the agenda additions violated the Brown Act?
Both seemed to think one matter was a Brown Act violation (which it was not) but the other matter was permissible because they wanted to discuss it under the same authorizing regulation. Simply, they decided which director duties they would actively participate and which they would intentionally ignore.
The former employee matter was continued to another future meeting but it should be noted that Emery Ross once again, later refused to hear the matter at the September 6th, 2012 Special Meeting citing personal reasons while walking out of the board room – but we’ll get to that later.]
DOES THIS “CRAZY BROWN ACT VIOLATION SUTFF” SOUND A BIT FAMILIAR TO YOU?
Remember when Emery Ross at the beginning of his new term refused to attend a director training class sponsored by a California State approved water organization because he believed a quorum of directors participating in the training was a Brown Act Violation? He apparently learned nothing from Brown Act Training.
Good Heavens. What did Emery think? That these approved training organizations were operating some sort of “Sting Operation” to ensnare unsuspecting directors in Brown Act Violations?
BACK TO EMERY’S SPECIAL MEETING (August 31st, 2012)
Once again Mr. Ross has clearly illustrated his deceptive nature and penchant for misrepresenting the truth of a matter. The material in “Ross’s Board Packet” (which is also provided to ratepayer’s requesting such) in support for his calling a Special Meeting (with support from Directors Skoien and Kinsella) consisted of only one of his differing requests for such a meeting and only my second brief written denial to call a Special Meeting.
As you already know with the recent JLIMBOCKER ATTACK, the “rent a mob” is gearing up with the traditional unfounded accusations and personal insults which are intentionally designed to distract from the business of this district. Gee, wonder why?
There’s a lot going on right now (you wouldn’t believe it) but I’ll try to get back to Director Ross’s August 31st, 2012 Special Meeting farce as soon as possible. Later!
My best to you and yours, Lew