By all indications, I believe that Idyllwild Fire commissioners and the San Jacinto City Council knew about and condoned the Joint Powers Authority to provide fire protection service to a population about 20 times larger than Idyllwild.
The IFPD chief claims he and the SJ city manager put their heads together on this thing on a casual basis, but what’s happening now is anything but casual. According to documentation on IFPD’s website, the JPA already appears in place.
These two staff members cannot set up a JPA without authority from the public’s elected officials in both communities.
We know this: Top heads, including Supervisor Washington and the county PIO, know about this deal.
We know at least two commissioners knew about the deal but won’t discuss it. Another commissioner won’t return a phone call or email.
But neither government agency shows anything about a JPA on any of their agendas.
It takes a great deal of work to create a JPA. So you’re telling me that both boards are just getting the news like we did through a press release? That’s difficult to believe.
Are they going to say next month to their boards, “Hey, here’s this great idea we’ve already put in place. We just need you to rubber stamp it and we’re on our way.” No, they must have had board authority outside of an open hearing before the public, we think.
Next month you, too, are invited to come down to a meeting, perhaps in San Jacinto, to hear all about something that’s been behind closed doors and looks like a done deal. So are the San Jacinto citizens.
To us, this implies that both boards violated at least the spirit of the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law, by not fully disclosing this was in the works.
Becky Clark, Editor