Editor’s note: I’m stepping aside again this week to let Jack express an opinion based on his recent investigations. BC

As reported in a previous issue of the Town Crier, Idyllwild Water District General Manager Tom Lynch is taking the position that an individual member of the IWD board may not unilaterally get an item put on the agenda. Rather, he says, the individual board member must wait until the next IWD meeting, then request that the item be put on the agenda, and — only if the majority of the board agrees — will the item be put on the agenda for the next meeting after that.

Lynch cites Government Code section 54954.2, subdivision (a)(2), for his position, but that code section, in fact, establishes that an individual board member may get an item put on the agenda at the very next meeting.

“[A] member of a legislative body, ... subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body, may ... take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda.”

So, any individual IWD board member may direct staff, i.e., GM Lynch, to place a matter of business on an upcoming agenda. Of course, that direction must be in time to give the public the appropriate 72 hours of agenda notice before the meeting, but the Government Code clearly does not require two meetings or a majority vote of the board, either one, for an individual board member to get an item on an agenda.

Oh, but it says, “subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body,” doesn’t it? So, what do IWD procedures explicitly say about this?

Recently, under the California Public Records Act, the Town Crier requested that IWD release its currently operating bylaws, rules, and regulations. In response, IWD released “Board Policy Resolution #714,” which, under “Guidelines for meeting behaviors ... Ethics” relates, in a passage addressed to IWD board members: “If a constituent ... comes to you with a ... request for action, ... [y]ou should then refer the matter to the Manager .... If it requires action by the legislative body, then the Manager will bring it to the attention of the legislative body by including it on the agenda.”

There it is: both the Government Code and IWD’s own current operating policy require that if an individual board member has a request that requires action by the board, he or she brings it to the attention of the general manager, and the GM will put it on the agenda. Period.

Why should we care about this? Because under GM Lynch’s misguided interpretation, if you, a constituent, bring a potential agenda item to the attention of one of your board members, it will take that board member two meetings, not just one, before it can get on the agenda, and then only if the majority of the board first agrees to put it there. The people’s business thus gets put off an extra month, if the majority of the board desires to consider it at all.

This phony rule — apparently made up by GM Lynch — keeps any of your individual board members from being able to unilaterally put a matter on a future agenda, all contrary to both California law and IWD’s own Resolution #714.

So, who’s running things at IWD? Does the board hire and fire the GM, or does the GM make up the board’s rules? Who’s working for whom over there?

Jack Clark,
General Counsel &