New CSD secretary, Marchelle Hall, is sworn in at the December monthly CSD board meeting by Director Jack Unger.

  Unger Out, Deel In As President  

  CSD Purchases Fire Truck 

  BMT Minneola Solar May Fizzle  

  Former GM Jodi Howard Sues Newberry CSD  

Posted: December 22, 2023
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
by Ted Stimpfel

More of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

    The December CSD general board meeting started with a changing of the guard.

    Director Jack Unger gave up the presidency by saying that he would not run for either the president or the vice president seat. Under apparent economic stress, he stated that he was going to leave retirement and go back to full-time employment and that he would not have the time to dedicate to either elected position.

    For the president position, Director Mike Matson nominated Paula Deel and Director Robert Springer nominated himself. The vote was 4 to 1, favoring Deel.

    For vice president, Director Margie Roberts then nominated Mike Matson and Director Robert Springer again nominated himself. The vote was 4 to 1, favoring Mike Matson.

    Under the current dynamics of the existing players, the sad board structure is probably as good as could be hoped for. Director Deel is good with budget numbers but Newberry Springs has lost out on a lot over the years with this undynamic member on the board. She has been stagnant and has sat by while the board delivered us such wonders as Clearway Energy.

    During the meeting, Director Margie Roberts was once again exclaiming (as she has done in the past) what a great board the CSD has and how it is the best ever! As a CSD residential observer, I believe that she was again hallucinating.

    Until she was elected, she was always a no-show at CSD meetings so she does not know what she professes. Also, as a CSD board member, she hasn't done anything meaningful for the community.

    The CSD board does OK with the routine basic management and should be recognized for that, but the board continues to miss golden opportunities. Director Mike Matson has been the only positive spark on the board so there is future hope based upon his younger energy and business knowledge.

    The accomplishments this year that have been beneficial have been led by Director Mike Matson who has been the visionary, and much of the physical muscle, in improving the recreational park. Along with him for accolades, is Fire Chief Daphne Lanier whose department has located an excellent fire truck in Pennsylvania. Chief Lanier expects to have the truck in operation in early January 2024.

Newberry Springs' acquired 2004 KME Rescue Pumper is being trucked over the holidays for expected delivery on January 2nd.

    With the truck's purchase price coming in a little under budget, the fire department will be shopping for a water tender. All this is to limit the CSD's liability and to help reduce the community's high fire insurance rates.

BMT Minneola Solar Project May Stall

    We know that the BMT Minneola Solar project has major problems with the County's produced Initial Study's determination that the project does not present a 'significant effect' on the environment and that, "A MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION shall be prepared."

    The Newberry Springs Community Alliance has submitted a lengthy comment letter that lambasts the County's Initial Study's determination as lacking credibility, being fundamentally flawed, and in violation of numerous federal, state, and county codes.

    Proceeding with the BMT Minneola Solar project will further subject the County deeper into its conspiracy of knowingly and maliciously injuring the health and the property values of the residents of Newberry Springs.

    The Community Alliance's comment letter should give the County a pause to reevaluate its determination. Should it proceed with the project, the County will be held accountable.

Former CSD General Manager
Jodi Howard Sues Newberry

    The CSD has been having to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees, money that could have been spent on the fire department and the park, to defend against Jodi Howard's actions as a disgruntled ex-employee.

    Howard is alleging wrongful termination. Yeah, like that is going to fly. The general manager position that she held was a position 'at will,' meaning that the CSD board could fire her at any time without cause. And that is what they did, without apparently stating a reason.

    Actually, the board held an excellent cause in that Howard took a secret simultaneous second job as general manager with the Daggett CSD. This violated a state law that forbids such a conflict of interest. It goes against the "two masters" legal theory. Howard forced her termination.

    Should Jodi Howard lose, as is likely as the board seems willing to fight her rather than settling a frivolous lawsuit, Howard can be held liable under court order to pay back all of the CSD's legal expenses.

    Expenses can run into huge amounts as Howard will likely be subjected to lengthy depositions and interrogatories during the discovery process.

    It is interesting to note that only the current Newberry CSD directors are being named as defendants and not any of the previous directors that Jodi Howard worked under, some for a longer period.

    It is also interesting that one current director has been omitted, Director Robert Springer whom Jodi Howard is believed to have had a special relationship during her Newberry CSD employment. Director Springer, during most of the time of Howard's employment, held the position of President and Chair.

    The reason why Director Springer was omitted from the complaint might be learned during the upcoming legal discovery process where Jodi Howard is expected to be grilled under oath on each of her 9 causes of action.

    A trial-setting conference is set for June 10, 2024, in Superior Court, Department S30, in the city of San Bernardino.

    Personally, IMHO, the court should simply grant the CSD a summary judgment and expenses.

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