For the third time in three years, a Riverside County Grand Jury has investigated and issued a report about the operations of the Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD).
The Grand Jury addressed five separate issues. The general themes were how the board conducts its business and oversight of operations; although one specific recommendation concerned Commissioner Dr. Charles “Chip” Schelly’s dual relationship as commissioner and paid-call firefighter.
The preponderance of the report addressed the IFPD Commission’s responsibilities for financial oversight of the agency’s operation and its own responsibilities as a Brown Act body.
Recommendations No. 4 (Brown Act compliance) and No. 6 (a cost analysis of services) are essentially a reiteration of recommendations from 2008, which the Grand Jury felt had not been effectively handled.
The six areas, which the Grand Jury investigated and issued recommendations for are summarized below:
1.Inadequate Financial Bookkeeping System — implement a double-entry bookkeeping system for recording financial transactions and internal controls to maintain adequate records
2. and 3. Annual Audits and Lack of Compliance with Requirements of AR IFPD #107 — [commission] members attend mandatory annual training to review and discuss the requirements in AR IFPD #107
4.Violation of the Brown Act — comply with the provisions of the Brown Act at all times and receive annual training on the Brown Act to minimize any violations
5. Conflict of Interest by a Board Member — elected official on the IFPD Board must resolve the current conflict of interest
6. Use of Volunteers and/or Cal-Fire — hire a consulting firm to conduct a cost analysis for:
• IFPD and Cal-Fire
• Ambulance Service
• Career Firefighters and Volunteers
As of this posting, Friday afternoon, none of the commissioners were available to comment on the report.
Since 2005, Riverside Grand Juries have issued four reports about the county Sheriff’s Department and two reports each on the Moreno Valley School District and the Blythe Airport. These are the only other public agencies to have been investigated more than once during the past six years.