People often ask us why we report on so many government meetings when most small-town newspapers do not.
It’s pretty easy to explain though not so easy to perform the task since so many boards govern various special districts and such on the Hill.
Four water districts, Fern Valley, Idyllwild, Pine Cove and then Lake Hemet Municipal, hold regular, monthly meetings.
Two boards that oversee fire protection meet, Idyllwild monthly and County Service Area 38 periodically. If ad hoc groups form, such as IFPD’s Finance Committee, those get covered, too.
Various other groups affect the Hill, such as the Hemet school board and the Riverside County supervisors.
And unlike many other small-town newspapers in California, we need to know the laws that regulate how these board members must conduct themselves in regards to the public.
These laws affect how the boards conduct their meetings, access to records, as well as the boards’ and top staffs’ ethical conduct.
Yes, we know that most of these board members are volunteers but with regular training and the right counsel, most of them seem to conduct themselves transparently and respect that they serve the taxpayers within their districts.
I don’t think that is the case with IFPD. I think most of the commissioners forget they serve the people, not the administrative staff.
Just attend a meeting and watch if a commissioner questions anything unusual. You’ll see the fire chief and the other commissioners dismissing the issue as if acting as a bloc.
It happened to Emily Shaw and Chip Schelly, who finally chose not to seek re-election. Now it’s happening to Rhonda Andrewson.