At its Oct. 22 meeting, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District Commission voted Commissioner-elect Nancy Layton onto the board about six weeks earlier than her official arrival.

In September, former Commissioner Pete Capparelli  resigned before his term expired in December.

In the August mail-in election, Layton tied with Commission President Jeannine Charles-Stigall as the top vote getter. Rhonda Andrewson was elected to the third seat and only 21 votes separated the top three candidates. All three would assume their four-year terms of office in December.

Consequently, at the previous meeting, the commission decided to limit the applicants to fill the remaining weeks of Capparelli’s term to either Andrewson or Layton.

“We have two well-qualified candidates. I nominate Nancy since she was the highest vote-getter in the election. There are no other reasons,” said Commission Secretary Jerry Buchanan. “Rhonda, we look forward to you joining us in December.”

The choice of Layton was unanimous, 3-0. Charles-Stigall was absent due to a health problem.

“I’m looking forward to my first meeting,” Layton said the next day.

In other business, Buchanan mentioned that the district’s salary expenses were about 30 percent of the year’s budget rather than 25 percent expected for the first quarter, but he attributed this to the amount of overtime costs incurred during the Mountain Fire in July. He foresaw no budget problems and is working with the new bookkeeper to develop the financial reports.

J.P. Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]