That administrative law judge rendered his decision to reverse Capt. Jim Reyes’ termination in July 2014 from Idyllwild Fire. Sadly, IFPD’s pride proves too great to accept it.
The district’s legal fees continue mounting, primarily because of this and Reyes’ separate and pending civil lawsuit.
Last fiscal year, IFPD exceeded $100,000 in legal costs; this year, it spent nearly $55,000 just on the Reyes case. Legal expenses keep exceeding budget.
After the board rejected the ALJ’s decision, Commisioner Nancy Layton blatantly wrote, “ … we will be spending yet more money on the case that we believe is necessary.”
IFPD requested the case’s transcripts to pour over with its attorney and fight the ALJ. After IFPD comes up with its own decision countering the ALJ’s, it will then have to fight off Reyes’ petition for writ of mandate. It will then need more legal help with the already existing civil suit.
After all this costly legal spending, if IFPD must reinstate Reyes, it also must pay back his salary of two years plus benefits (or more, depending on when he’s reinstated).
Could this holding out on pride because of a nebulous and unwarranted firing be what finally brings down the district?
Already, IFPD proved itself to be an independent agency acting on its own self-serving interests, not on behalf of the public it serves. Just consider it also rejected grand jury reports recommending such simple corrections as Brown Act training.
That brings me to the issue of taxes. It seems to be almost a done deal that Idyllwild property owners will see an IFPD unit fee increase of 140 percent on their November ballot.
How about you? Are you willing to cover the cost of blind pride?
Becky Clark, Editor