The 2013-14 Riverside County Grand Jury has issued a report concerning the Idyllwild Fire Protection District.
The Grand Jury investigated three issues: the responsibilities of the administrative captain, political activities of uniformed firefighters and the district’s overtime expenses.
IFPD has not officially responded to the report, according to Fire Chief Patrick Reitz. In a Dec. 28 email, he wrote, “IFPD has received the report and there are no comments at this time as the board has not met to discuss the report. IFPD has not responded; the response will be put before the board prior to submission.”
The concern about the administrative captain responsibilities is whether they are too extensive, which resulted in his overtime pay. According to the report, he received $56,757 in overtime in 2012, which amounted to nearly 50 percent of the fire department’s total overtime expenditures.
The report states, “According to sworn testimony, ‘The administrative captain has too many responsibilities.’” The report indicates that testimony was obtained from two commissioners, the fire chief, administrative assistants to the chief and community residents.
The political activity concerned firefighters’ presence at two candidate forums, in 2011 and again in 2013. During a fire commission meeting this fall, Reitz announced that the district legal counsel said there was no problem if uniformed staff attended candidate forums but the Grand Jury differed.
The overtime issue investigated the causes for the annual costs near $100,000 and concluded it was usually related to vacation relief and fire assignments outside the district, such as campaign fires.
The next IFPD commission meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14, when the Grand Jury’s tentative recommendations may be discussed, according to Reitz.
J.P. Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]