Two Idyllwild Fire groups committed numerous and parallel Brown Act violations on March 18, when both a quorum of commissioners and a quorum of the Finance Committee visited the dispatch command center in Perris.
Multiple violations of both groups within this agency occurred because the meetings were neither noticed nor opened to the public. A quorum of the Finance Committee also rode in a car together, to and from the Perris meeting.
CNPA Attorney Jim Ewert said, in all his decades of advising news- papers, he has heard of one agency committing two Brown Act violations but never heard such breadth of this agency’s violations that day.
Former IFPD Com- missioner Ben Killingsworth has stated, “Other than abiding by many state laws that govern its activities, [IFPD] is not beholden to anyone …” The truth is, the agency is definitely beholden to the public, and the Brown Act is one of those state laws guaranteeing us citizens the opportunity to participate in our government. Local agencies’ actions affecting our lives do not form from nothing. They arise out of deliberations and discussions, and it is our right to know these.
This event makes it clear that this agency is in ignorance of certain laws. Board and committee members need Brown Act training. We hope that, whether required to or not, this agency’s public representatives make a deliberate effort to get trained not only on the Brown Act, but in ethics as well. After defending numerous grand jury reports, why mess around?
Becky Clark, Editor