As the primary reporter of information about public agencies on the Hill, we need to attend about a dozen meetings a month.

Readers depend on us to report what happens so, more often than not, we cover lightly attended meetings.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting in San Francisco where we merged the California Press Association with the California Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation. Though it was a year-long process, the first board meeting of the newly founded Caliornia Press Foundation lasted only an hour and a half. The reason for that was simple: we formed a committee to do the dirty work, along with CNPA staff, this year.

Idyllwild Water District is the local agency that uses and manages committees the best. It revised an entire personnel manual through committee. Then to allow the whole board to review it, IWD posted several special meetings just on that topic.

I bring this up because a local board meeting that starts late and ends nearly four hours after it was expected to begin is an inefficient use of commissioners’ time.

Most of the Idyllwild Fire board meeting last week was tied up with policy issues that a committee effectively might handle, and then bring its findings to the board for approval.

Having served over the years on the Chamber, the Art Alliance and the Idyllwild Community Fund boards, as well as state and national boards, I learned early on that utilizing committees and staff, if available, to work out such things as who signs resolutions allows board members to deal with more important issues facing them.

And Idyllwild Fire’s serious financial issues and the board’s negative public perception are more pressing for commissioners who meet only 12 times a year.

Let committees do the chores so you may get to the business of getting our local fire department on track.

Becky Clark, Editor