Wednesday, December 9, 2009

IFPD meeting Dec. 8, 2009

From the left, Jeannine Charles-Stigall, Dr. Charles "Chip" Schelly, Peter Capparelli and Ben Killingsworth.

At the beginning of last night’s Idyllwild Fire Protection District meeting, the new commissioners were sworn into office.

Commissioner and Treasurer Killingsworth has been serving, but he begins a new elected four-year term now. (He began his service through appointment to replace former commissioner Dr. Emily Shaw.)

The meeting began at 5:30 p.m. and ended shortly after 8 p.m., It was raucous, funny, amiable, angry, long, sometimes tedious, informative and all in a good spirit. Quite a humbling and startling IFPD meeting, but an impressive start.

A new era seems to be dawning on IFPD. All five commissioners spoke out and frequently during the meeting. The President’s voice was not the only one the public heard.

Secondly, the commission seems quite willing and capable of working in front of the public and, most importantly, comfortable doing so without unanimity.

Thirdly, they are already taking steps to establish their open personality and commitment to the Brown Act procedures.

The commission scheduled a special meeting for 5:30 p.m., next Tuesday, Dec. 15. Killingsworth urged this upon his colleagues to get better acquainted with the agency’s budget and prepare for possible budget problems in the last half of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

In addition, the commission appointed an ad hoc committee to investigate the situation with Zoll Medical over the attempted purchase of $100,000 of equipment. In August, the commission recommended keeping the Autopulse untis and returning the rest of the equipment.

Zoll has requested full payment and IFPD still lacks authority to use the Autopulse equipment.

Commissioners Charles-Stigall and Schelly volunteered to pursue the issue and may have an interim report for the special meeting.

Schelly proposed to open up information for t he public through the use of IFPD’s Web site for posting agenda, minutes and commissioner packages. As an example of the commission’s receptivity of the Brown Act and open government, the majority supported Schelly’s reforms, but voted 3-2 to put them on the genda for the January meeting so the public would be aware of them in advance of adoption.

Although long, it was a good meeting. More details will be in the story for the print edition. Have to prepare for the Editor’s meeting at 8:30 a.m., Please come if you have time, see ya at CafĂ© Aroma.

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