Operating procedures and policies were the topic of last week’s fire commission special meeting and workshop. Commissioner Jerry Buchanan and interim Fire Chief Mike Sherman presented several draft policies, which Buchanan had received from the California Special District Association and modified for application to the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

Policies included filling board vacancies, board meetings and board agendas. Sherman planned to amend and bring the revised policies to the commission for approval at its June 12 meeting.

Examples of other policies reviewed during the workshop included meeting schedules, special meetings and emergency meetings, and conduct during meetings.

The board’s meeting conduct policy will establish a limit of five minutes per person for public comment and may allow up to 30 minutes per agenda item. Chief Sherman and Buchanan explained the suggested limits could be modified depending upon the issue.

“This addresses how much time do we want to spend on an issue,” Buchanan said. “Thirty minutes is not a long time if it is a very important issue.”

The board’s actions and decisions policy establishes three commissioners as a quorum. Further, if a commissioner abstains because of a potential conflict of interest, that would not count toward a quorum. Ultimately, all future decisions would require a majority of at least three.

President Jeannine Charles-Stigall mentioned that this is what happened last fall when the commission replaced former commissioner Ben Killingsworth; but legal counsel advised them that they were compliant with state law.

Sherman reminded the commission that its policies could be more restrictive than state law. And Buchanan pointed out that no policy existed that modified the law.

“Now it will always take three members of the commission to pass something,” he said.

At its Jan. 24 meeting, the commission approved the purchase of generic policies from the California Special District Association. For each policy they have reviewed, Buchanan and Chief Sherman revised the generic version to apply it specifically to IFPD and the commission.