Misunderstandings Are Intentionally
  Circulating On Social Media  

Posted: June 29, 2023
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
Opinion by Ted Stimpfel

Not everything you read in Newberry is true.

Facebook post of June 26, 2023.

    There is a great deal of misunderstanding in the above post.  Unless one regularly attends meetings and participates in civic activities, it is easy to imagine the misconceptions.

    I agree that it is long past time for director Robert Springer to go. He has greatly damaged Newberry Springs with his disastrous handling of the CSD's litigation with the County of San Bernardino. His horrendous incompetence on the litigation is a matter of record.

    Robert Springer may be a very intelligent man regarding his employment knowledge, but as a CSD director and long-time president of the board, I believe that he stands out as one of the many failures currently sitting on the board. He has also had far too many unexcused absences from the board meetings.

    Why hasn't his absentee issue become an agenda item? The other directors appear scared to sponsor it. Are they waiting for a public member to demand it? In short, the CSD board won't enforce its own CSD Guidelines and Policies.

    Jodi Howard should have been fired years ago. Although she did improve over the many years that she acted as General Manager, her work has always been substandard IMHO and her blunders have been overlooked.

    This was a defense that I heard from Howard's camp after her CSD dismissal, that she had a clean record. She apparently was never written up for anything. That she was a perfect employee.

    Perhaps I was naïve, it didn't click until I later heard third-hand scuttlebutt that then-president Robert Springer and Jodi Howard were at one time special friends. Then the math added up. And possibly why Springer has missed so many recent meetings when Howard's termination was being discussed and apparently favored by a majority of the board.

    Casey's conjuring that Paul Deel might become a temporary GM is moot. As others have already posted on social media, the idea was discussed as one of the many possibilities and was dismissed due to a conflict of interest. Why is Casey resurrecting the idea to now incite the public?

    Casey's quotation from the board's statement on Howard's dismissal that, "We did so with no reason other than a fractured relationship that was not mendable," is simply the board's legalese (probably from their attorney) to limit the grounds for a reprisal lawsuit. The actual grounds for releasing Howard, I believe, are considerable. Remember, the board doesn't need to state any reason for dismissing a General Manager.

    It is always best for the board not to give a reason. If they stated something like they fired her because she looks funny, she would then have grounds for a discrimination lawsuit. It is better to never say anything which the board did.

    Casey further goes on with false information, trying to incite discourse, by stating, "SB County will get tired of it and dissolve the CSD and they can do that. Is that what we want? U can say goodbye to the CSD building, that will fall into ruin. u can say goodbye to the park, will also fall into ruin," etc.

    The County can not dissolve a CSD, nor can it force a CSD to merge with another CSD. That takes a majority vote of the voters of the CSD district.

    Casey Jones's allegations appear to lack merit and the acts by Howard and Jones only appear to be a prolongation of mean revenge over the release of a CSD employee that has always held (In My Humble Opinion) a mean-spirited attitude, be it against the volunteer Commodities group or others. I know that I have personally felt the negative energy of Howard's combativeness. It still appears to linger.

From the Minutes of the May 23, 2023, CSD meeting.
How much of Newberry's limited taxpayer (fire department) money is being diverted to the legal actions being allegedly taken by Jodi Howard and Casey Jones?

    According to the Newberry CSD's Budget vs. Actuals: Approved FY 2022-2023 - FY23 P&L - June 2023 Report, the CSD has had to pay $4,207.50, in legal fees which is far over the forecasted budget for legal expenses. This appears to be largely due to a Worker's Compensation claim by a former employee and Casey Jones for which at this point, I do not understand his legal standing. Regardless of any legal merits, this is taking badly needed money from the fire department.

    When I questioned the board at the last CSD board meeting as to what was specifically causing the huge spike in legal fees, director Paula Deel spoke up with a tight lip, only saying that the increase was due to attorney fees.

    If any claims against the CSD are not meritorious, hopefully, the CSD will recover its damages.

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© 2023 Ted Stimpfel