IFPD settles employee litigation

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As the first quarter of fiscal year 2017-18 ends, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District’s financial consultant worked with its auditing team to prepare the audit from fiscal year 2016-17, which ended June 30. Consequently, he was unable to prepare any financial reports for the commission’s review at its monthly meeting last week.

However, one long-term financial issue has been resolved. Fire Chief Patrick Reitz announced a settlement in the two-and-half-year-old suit with former Capt. James Reyes.

The final amount has not been released, but Reitz said, “We came to a mutually agreed-upon settlement. The district is satisfied with a known outcome. We never stopped moving forward and can now put the energies of the case toward other things.”

Reyes also confirmed that he has accepted a settlement. He is now with the Mohave Fire Department in Arizona.

In other business, the commission conducted its periodic review of agency policies. Six, such as Purpose of Board Polices (1000) and Adoption or Amendment of Policies (1010), were approved with no changes and one with a minor amendment. The Purchasing Policy (3135) will be redrafted and brought back to the commission at its October meeting.

“This would be good when we’re bigger,” Reitz said. But as written, the policy is too cumbersome for the agency and the authorized vendor list needs to be made current, he added.

Also after nearly 40 years, the Riverside County Clerk of the Board has requested that the district update its conflict-of-interest policy. Every special district, including school districts, must submit a conflict-of-interest policy for the Riverside County Board of Supervisors’ approval.

May 30, 1978, was when the supervisors last approved the IFPD Conflict of Interest Code. The IFPD commission approved and submitted it to the board March 16, 1978.

The current commission requested Reitz to review and update it where appropriate and to also put its approval on the October agenda.

Besides the settlement with Reyes, the chief also made several other announcements. The county Waste Department will be scheduling a day to accept abandoned tires, the next blood drive will be Nov. 18 and Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9 to 14. IFPD’s Open House is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct 14, but it will be held on Park Lane rather than at the fire station. 

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