Reading Time: 16 minutes
Customer: Ahhh, what’ve you got?
Store Clerk: Whiskey, Scotch, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, assorted liqueurs, domestic and imported beer
Store Clerk: Let’s see some ID.
Customer: Ahhh, how about a shot of the liquid hand sanitizer and a blue mint mouthwash chaser?
NOTE: The above is, in no way, intended to encourage or condone substance abuse by anyone or minimize the harmful health effects of such use. Listening to the national news the other day I heard this hand sanitizer consumption was increasing and thought it a good example of strange behavior by some.
Apparently liquid hand sanitizer (which can contain 63% Ethyl Alcohol), sometimes combined with mouthwash, has replaced the old time Vanilla extract as a preferred underage cocktail. Good grief! Traditional alcohol consumption is bad enough but how very sad that an individual (however old) would become so desperate to escape reality that they would drink such stuff. I understand such consumption could also cause serious injury (which is evidently why procedures are used to consume only the alcohol). Wasn’t inappropriate drinking one of the reasons wood alcohol is used for many purposes rather than grain (alcohol)? What about the old time sterno sippers? Aerosol huffing? Pruno? Raisin-Jack? Used chewing gum wrapped in a moldy banana peel? LOL
I guess desperation is the mother of invention and in the current fad some imaginative adolescent read the label and did some simple math. Ethyl alcohol + desire for intoxication = drinking hand sanitizer and mouthwash. Cheers!
Can’t help but wonder if the government will now require age identification prior to purchase like with glue, paint and other similar products? Look what happened to over-the-counter cold medications because they are used in the production of meth? Maybe we should limit how many ounces the average hand washing germophobic citizen might actually require? (Amount calculated during the flu season naturally.) Lick any toads lately?
Wonder if the California Highway Patrol has heard any excuses regarding this new buzz trend yet?
“Actually no officer (hiccup) I definitely have not be drinking (hiccup) …just bathing my filthy f@(king tongue in soap and inad (hiccup)…. Inadverted….(hiccup) accidently swallowed the (hiccup) stuff when the tree hitted my bumper [hiccups, pukes on the officer’s boots, passes out and begins a very unpleasant journey through the criminal justice system with 99.99% germ free minty breath]
Anyway, I imagine most people understand the motive for drinking this exterior use liquid germ killer, however, it sure doesn’t explain all peculiar human behavior, which reminds me of the point of this posting ….. here is the LEW VIEW report on the last meeting.
Have a great weekend!
April 20th, 2012 LDPCSD BOARD MEETING
Directors present: Emery Ross, Mark Skoien, Victor Afanasiev and VP Lew Richardson (President Bill Kinsella absent due to illness), also present: Interim General Manager Dan Tynan and Financial Administrator/Treasurer/Board Secretary Charise Reeves. VP Richardson acknowledged the 6 audience attendees and opened the meeting at 1002hrs. Following the Pledge of Allegiance the first agenda item was addressed.
INTERIM GENERAL MANAGER’S RESIGNATION
Tynan advised he would be resigning on April 30th, 2012 from the IGM position that he had held for 17 months. Tynan stated he found himself in an unworkable situation because he believed current Director Bill Kinsella, prior director Wes Barton, and Finance Manager Charise Reeves were pursuing their own personal agendas rather than the district’s best interest. Tynan stated he had done his best while at the LDPCSD and believed he achieved a lot but the aforementioned individuals were the reason he sought employment elsewhere. Tynan stated he hoped there would be a change in attitude and focus regarding State compliance matters, education, safety, security and experience in running a water district. Tynan suggested the hiring of new employee John Turner as the next IGM citing Turner’s 31 years of water experience stating the district would be lucky to have him. VP Richardson stated that matter could be discussed more under agenda item C, General Manager Position.
VP Richardson asked Board Secretary Charise Reeves if there were extra copies of Mr. Turner’s submitted packet [62 pages of information which included copies of water licenses and training certificates] and asked Mr. Turner, who was in the audience, if he had any objections to copies being made, which Turner advised he did not. [NOTE, this material was submitted to directors at the last board meeting but without being on the agenda was not officially addressed.]
Director Emery Ross objected stating he had communicated with the CSD attorney and it was improper to discuss an employee’s Personnel File in public and it had to be discussed in closed session and suggested moving on to the next agenda item. Director Afanasiev and IGM Tynan disagreed stating it was merely part of Mr. Turner’s resume. VP Richardson stated he also had spoken with Mr. Carlson and understood the matter could be discussed and decided in open session. Ross stated he had a case supporting his position yet when Director Afanasiev asked about the material Ross refused to elaborate.
Director Mark Skoien commented it was nice to see the extensive material but questioned how current it was and asked about Turner’s work history. Director Ross again stated the board should not discuss the matter in open session. IGM Tynan stated he had placed Turner’s resume in every director’s mail box and had confirmed through the state that Turner’s T-4 and D-4 licenses were current. Richardson again stated the issue could be discussed under item C. Ross stated it was a personnel issue and should be in closed session but Richardson stated further discussion could take place later on the agenda and opened item B, Interim General Manager’s Reimbursement, for discussion.
ITEM B: Request: Reimbursement of funds for the Cross Connection course, hotel expense, and vacation days from the IGM. As IGM Dan Tynan began to discuss the matter Director Emery Ross interrupted stating he believed the item appeared to be punitive and disciplinary in nature and should not be discussed. Richardson agreed it appeared to be more of a personnel issue yet after talking with the attorney that morning stated it was proper for the board to make a decision on the agendized request. Ross said if the board wanted to make a policy regarding reimbursement for educational training that was fine but should not discuss the matter in open session. Director Skoien felt the matter was moot and since he (President Kinsella) was not present the board should move on to the next agenda item. IGM Tynan requested the opportunity for clarification of President Kinsella’s letter. Ross asked if the board had to do that. Richardson stated the item was on the agenda for reimbursement of funds which was something both President Kinsella and Charise Reeves had presented for discussion, however, Mrs. Reeves stated she only provided the information requested by President Kinsella due to a discrepancy between what had been stated in a meeting by Tynan and what actually transpired regarding payment for the training class. Richardson clarified that the matter had started some time before which Reeves acknowledged stating it was standard procedure to go over credit card charges and checking the meeting tape confirmed that Tynan originally stated he would pay for the class himself.
Director Ross asked if the information would end up in Tynan’s Personnel File to which Reeves stated it would not characterizing it (if the board decided to have Tynan pay for the class and hotel room) as a simple reversal on payroll (vacation time). VP Richardson acknowledged the suggestion of bypassing the matter and moving on through the agenda but commented the issue would only linger on and questioned whether the board might adjudicate the matter now. Director Skoien stated Dan was moving on, had a right to do so and had stated his reasons for the resignation and suggested everyone else move on as well.
Tynan disputed President Kinsella’s assertion (in a letter) that the district received no benefit for Tynan’s training class citing a number of violations within the district which Tynan discovered because of the training. Director Skoien confirmed that approximately the same amount of money spent on the training class had been billed through the district. Richardson clarified that Tynan had paid for one training class himself and planned on doing the same for the second class but after realizing the financial benefit to the district (along with meeting requirements of state regulations) later changed his mind and charged the training to the credit card. [NOTE: Tynan had previously agreed to abide by whatever the board decided.]
Richardson stated boards often made the mistake of trying to save money by not providing training to employees due to the fear they might move on to another agency yet such training should be provided and if an employee did move on to another position it was just a cost of doing business. Ross suggested a policy stating if an employee left within one month of a district paid training course the employee be required to reimburse the district. Richardson agreed stating such would be similar to the current policy regarding clothing and boots but it could not be retroactive. The board consensus was to drop the matter and use the situation as the basis for a possible future policy.
ITEM C: General Manager Position: Decide on actions to fill the General Manager Position.
Director Ross passed out a proposal of his to the board that encouraged hiring an IGM but still advertising for the General Manager’s position. He stated he was waiting for the attorney to approve his proposal. Director Skoien stated the district had to meet the requirement of advertising for the position but VP Richardson disagreed stating he had spoken with the attorney and the board could appoint an IGM from the existing employee pool without advertising. Richardson confirmed through the board secretary that advertising costs were approximately $1,000 in four local newspapers.
Director Afanasiev stated he believed the board needed to make an appointment but was unsure if the district needed to advertise for the position. Richardson reiterated his conversation with the attorney that such advertisement was not necessary and the board could indeed appoint an IGM. Director Skoien said the district should probably run an advertisement but doubted we would find anyone as qualified as Mr. Turner. Richardson disagreed with the offered theory by Director Afanasiev that the district could not appoint a GM until conclusion of the ongoing wrongful termination lawsuit by a previous general manager. Harry Alfier also pointed out that a previous IGM was promoted to GM during the wait for lawsuit conclusions. Director Skoien stated he did not recall any information that the previous GM (with a pending lawsuit against the district) even wanted the position. Tynan confirmed that Jeff Mann had been appointed IGM and then later GM by a previous board.
Director Ross felt the district needed an IGM prior to appointing a permanent GM. Ross felt IGM Tynan had the responsibility but not the authority as an IGM. Ross also stated:
“I think in this interim period until, I mean, I don’t think you’re going to get a, a regular general manager going in the short amount of time so you need to pick from somebody, whoever, Charise, him, you know, Syndie whoever it is, Randy, somebody, me…(laughter) you know, until the 30th until we get a few applications from this response that we’re talking about if the board wants to do interim. I think it’s time to take it more positive about it because that’s really Dan’s prob, had that problem for all that time that he was a, had the responsibility of all this stuff but not really the authority to do what he need to do”.
Tynan stated his hands were tied.
Richardson stated most people could recognize that Tynan was placed in an untenable position due to politics that had been going on for quite some time before his arrival here as an employee and he was thrown right smack dab into the middle of something that I don’t think anybody really stood a fair chance. Directors agreed Tynan had done a good job. Ross said there were some things Tynan did that he wasn’t happy about like the painting but it looks good now. Richardson suggested with all the discussion one of the first things the board might inquire was whether Mr. Turner was even interested in something like that.
John Turner stated in the last ten days he had spoken with many people from all sides and that his whole career was based on, whether in the Marine Corps or working for water agencies, bringing people together. He said it was like our family away from family. He said his upmost priorities were to protect the community liability and keeping the people safe. Turner emphasized working together, referring to his past experience and training, stated he knew how to run the district.
VP Richardson commented that it was high time the board supported the district IGM/GM and proposed tentatively appointing Mr. Turner to the position with the same hiring conditions as Dan Tynan and using the next 10 days for orientation and verification of resume information. He said barring any disqualifying information Mr. Turner could take the position upon Tynan’s last day on April 30th and with a successful evaluation later be appointed to GM. Richardson also felt the plan would be in line with past Mariposa County Grand Jury recommendations the last two years.
Director Ross again stated he believed it was a personnel issue that should be discussed in closed session scheduled in the future. Richardson again stated he had specifically confirmed with the CSD attorney as to the board’s authority to appoint in open session emphasizing the salary issue should never be discussed in closed session. He continued to say an open meeting was transparency (of government) and it was a shame there were not more people in attendance. Richardson characterized the situation as an opportunity for a new office, new IGM, and potentially a new start and direction for the district.
Director Ross questioned how the board could hire someone without seeing his application or resume. Ross stated he didn’t even know if Turner had ever been gainfully employed in the State of California to which Richardson suggested he ask Turner which Ross refused to do stating he would only talk with Turner in closed session. Richardson again stated the attorney advised the board could appoint in open session yet Ross stated the attorney told him the same thing but then did a 360 last night saying the district could be sued for discussing personnel issues in a public session. [I believe Mr. Ross meant 180 degrees which would be a U-turn compass heading.]
Ruth Smith asked how many directors were authorized to speak with the attorney stating it was no wonder the legal fees were so high. Ross stated he emailed the attorney to which Mrs. Smith stated the district gets charged the same. Richardson stated that in all fairness when a director, GM or staff had a legal question the attorney is exactly the person to be contacted. Harry Alfier questioned what happened to the idea of contracting with the Tuolumne County Counsel’s office for routine questions to which Charise Reeves responded the proposal was never approved by the board.
Richardson suggested getting back to the topic of replacement of the IGM, congratulated Tynan on his new employment and stated Tynan had done a lot of good things for the district despite the turmoil. Director Skoien asked Ross about his proposal wondering if it too was a personnel issue. Ross stated it was only a concept that the attorney might approve today and disapprove tomorrow depending upon which way the wind blows. Director Afanasiev asked if he could make a motion, Richardson said yes but asked if there were any further comments from the public.
Wes Barton stated when the previous board hired a previous IGM they used the engineering firm for an evaluation and suggested the same in the present situation because, 1) helps the district choose the right person and 2) it puts the blame on somebody else. Barton also felt there should be specific goals set for the IGM and recommended the board in the next six months set such goals to be achieved. Barton also felt understanding the district’s financial situation has been a problem for past IGM/GMs and discussed the reporting hierarchy and mentioned the possibility that the financial administrator might report directly to the board of directors. (Barton emphasized it was only a suggestion and he was not necessarily advocating such a procedure.) He stressed goal setting by the board was the priority (with outside technical advice) and without such, failure would again result.
Director Ross said the government code states the GM is responsible for finance and like the County Board of Supervisors, which appoints individuals to fill various positions even though the supervisors themselves may not have personal experience, the board must have faith in their appointees. Ross disagreed with having the engineer evaluate the GM because the engineer works for the GM. IGM Tynan said he was able to complete 3 of the 14 capital improvement projects furnished to the prior GM. Director Skoien commented that the GM would naturally be in contact with the engineer and did not care for the suggestion of a separation of financial matters from the GM to the board. Mr. Barton stated it was his personal take on the matter from reading the government code and also mentioned the timing issue of the appointment. He stated use of consultants might be useful, specifically the engineer. IGM Tynan stated a consultant previously used by the district would no longer be available.
Director Afanasiev made the motion to promote John Turner as the interim GM with verification of his certificates from the state within 120 days. Richardson asked if Director Afanasiev might amend his motion to include the Turner’s hiring with the same conditions (salary and long term benefits) as used with Dan Tynan effective May 1st. VP Richardson made the second.
Director Skoien confirmed the motion for appointment did not include any advertisement but thought Ross’s proposal of a temporary appointment during an advertisement period the way to go. Director Afanasiev stated the district could appoint internally, Richardson agreed stating, with no offense to Mr. Turner at all, employees are at will and he had read in past minutes where one individual was appointed as GM in one meeting, but another person was the GM at the next. Richardson stated the appointment was not set in stone without any options if things did not turn out as anticipated.
Director Ross stated there was a motion without a second but was advised a second had been made. Ross then said he would not vote for the motion because he had not seen Turner’s employment application and it could only be discussed “in there”, referring to a closed session. Ross said he didn’t know if Turner had been a bus driver or maybe a rancher. Richardson again asked Director Ross if he had reviewed the information regarding Turner’s employment and educational background yet Ross stated he did not want to discuss the issue. Ross again stated he had not seen an employment application to which Director Afanasiev explained it was a promotion from the ranks not a job application. John Turner advised he could do whatever the board requested but Afanasiev advised it was not necessary for a promotion. Richardson asked if Director Ross had seen Turner’s resume to which Ross replied he hadn’t seen anything. Afanasiev, Skoien and Richardson had reviewed it, and Richardson advised he knew President Kinsella had requested the resume a while back. Tynan said he confirmed Turner’s 31 years job experience and license status.
Director Skoien asked about Turner’s previous experience. Mr. Turner advised he had worked for Golden State Water which is a privately owned New York Stock Exchange Company which serves 1 out of every 33 people up and down the state. He started down in Arizona-New Mexico for 14 years, transferred to the East Bay where he worked another 13-14 years and was then promoted to water conservation coordinator that covered many communities.
Richardson commented Turner’s 30+ years experience was very valuable along with his T-4 and D-4 License Grades (Treatment and Distribution) and the fact he was already an employee precluded expensive advertising. He continued by saying it was his understanding Mr. Turner had already committed himself to this community by purchasing a house which Turner affirmatively acknowledged. Richardson said he thought it was the perfect opportunity to appoint the gentleman as IGM to work with the general contractor and insurance company in establishing the new office from the ground up. He also thought it advantageous that Turner would himself hire future CSD employees with whom he would work. Richardson said he would really like to see everybody support the motion but if there were objections – voice the apprehensions on the record because it had been a long time since a district IGM/GM received the full support of the board. He said even if a director had reluctance in certain areas the board should give Turner a chance and try for a new start for the district.
Director Ross asked Turner how many years of finance experience he had as a finance manager – what did he know about finance. Turner responded that as far as being a finance manager that was never his title but he had taken the Harvard (Ross interrupted adding to his question: “in a public agency – cuz it’s different than a private”. Turner replied stating: in the private, we serve the public. He continued by saying he didn’t like to “toot his own – kind of thing” but he had been chosen by management to participate in rate school training and had taken the Harvard Financial Competence Class, budgets and rates and as a lead operator whenever the superintendent stepped aside he came in as assistant and would run the budget. He advised he would learn from the current employees and they would learn from him and everyone would come up to another level. He further stated he did not come here needing a job but after retirement he could only take six months of fishing (laughter). Richardson commented whatever experience he might be lacking in the public sector could be cleared up with a Brown Act training class real quick.
Director Afanasiev said the Brown Act only applied to officials and Richardson agreed and he mentioned the training class only because Director Ross had made the distinction between public and private agencies. Richardson stated Afanasiev’s motion stood and asked if there were any further comments. Ruth Smith asked if the man was already qualified and an employee of the district why spend the money for an engineer, consultant or advertisement, why not just do it (appoint) and get it over with? Richardson agreed stating as IGM Mr. Turner would naturally consult with the engineers on different projects and the attorney on legal matters. Harry Alfier commented that the board was running a good meeting and that he supported John and thought him a Godsend for the district and hoped the board would support him as well. Emery Ross said there were three votes – Afanasiev stated Ross didn’t know that- Richardson said the comment was kind of out of order and laughed.
Ruth Smith asked if IGM Tynan put the information in Ross’s mailbox was it fair for Ross to vote no to Turner just because Ross hasn’t checked his mail? Ross said the votes were there and he could vote the way he wanted. With no further comments VP Richardson called for the vote, Director Skoien asked for a reading of the motion:
Charise Reeves: Motion is, for the most part, to promote John Turner on an interim basis ah to position as interim general manager with verification on his certifications from the state, and this is where I don’t have it word for word, but additional verifications within 120 days on his background, I’ll get it word for word off the tape, and ah, at the same salary and conditions as Dan was at effective May first.
Ayes, Richardson, Afanasiev, and Skoien (the later vote qualified with so long as running an advertisement was not required). Nays, Ross (because he had not interviewed the person in closed session and had not seen the application.)
Director Skoien stated he agreed with Director Ross on how it had been done in the past with the best case scenario but he (Skoien) was also considering the time frame and like with any other vote hoped it was the right decision.
Richardson agreed and said, again John with no insult meant to you at all if things don’t work out you could be gone as quickly as you came in….(laughter) I hope that’s not the case, I hope in the next ten days you and Dan can work together and come up you know to speed on more things here. I’d like to see some active involvement if we hire Pinnacle and Mr. Grover to be the general contractor – some good work in there with him and you have the chance to
John Turner: get things in gear
VP Richardson: Exactly, exactly and get a good start on the ground floor of what will hopefully be a new CSD with a new agenda. OK, with that done we’re looking at the Closed Session so we’ll close this meeting at 1113.
Director Afanasiev: can we take a break?
VP Richardson: Certainly
Director Ross: See you later I’m going home
VP Richardson: Whoa – Emery, we have a closed session.
Director Ross: I know, I have to leave, I don’t like the way you’re running this (laughter)
VP Richardson: But, OK, you may not like the way I’m running it but are you going to just abdicate your responsibility and not attend a closed session with the attorney counsel?
Director Ross: Well Raymond told me one thing and you’re telling me
VP Richardson: Well this would be the perfect opportunity for you to ask him on the telephone then.
Director Ross: Well no because you’re obstinate and impossible to talk to, you don’t listen, you just did a whole stupid thing
VP Richardson: Listen Emery the attorney is going to be on the phone and you’ll have the opportunity to talk to him
(inaudible – Director Emery Ross leaves the board room)
VP Richardson: (laughs) Let’s take a recess (laughter)
REPORT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION ITEMS: 1200hrs:
D) Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation Government Code Section 54956.9 – Kent/Topie vs. LDPCSD
Conference to be rescheduled so the entire board could be present.
E) Government Code Section 54957(b)(2) – Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Specific Complaints – Continuation
No action taken due to the matter being Overtaken By Events (OBE) since one of the complainants is leaving the district it is no longer a legal issue but as a practical matter no action will be taken on that.
Charise Reeves made the following for the record comment: “I was not happy with the way this whole thing proceeded, obviously the initial ahm grievance was submitted seven months ago and over seven or eight meetings ago
VP Richardson: OK, well you know that, that works both ways but
Charise Reeves: I’m allowed to make a statement for the record
VP Richardson: You are?
Charise Reeves: Yeah, anybody in the community is and so I’m not happy with how long it took, you know I understand the determination but I do want the directors to know that I stand by what I initially put in the grievance.
VP Richardson: OK,
Charise Reeves: You know harassment
Director Skoien: But you understand the termination because the employee is leaving?
Charise Reeves: I do, I do
Director Skoien: You’re just expressing your disgust
Charise Reeves: I’m just….exactly, I, I was not happy that it took this long, that it wasn’t resolved, and had something happened a whole lot sooner, ahm, and that ah, you know, the initial items that I stated I still stand by. You know?
VP Richardson: Well I think both parties
Charise Reeves: I understand the determination and the ah action so
VP Richardson: I think both parties standby what they’ve said but it’s, it’s done. OK, so we’ll call the end of this meeting ah thank you all for, all three of you for returning, the time is 1202.
My best to you and yours, Lew