CSD Meetings Still Conducted
In A Clueless Fashion

Robert Royalty, Newberry CSD president and board chairman.

Newberry CSD squandering funds on attorney.
$165,000 fire truck is still missing!

Posted: November 23, 2013

      The Newberry Community Service District's General Meeting on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, was again marred with a boring-as-usual performance of president and chairman, Robert Royalty, demonstrating why the CSD should be dissolved sooner than later.

      The CSD is capable of being a wonderful benefit for the community.  Properly managed with vision and foresight, it is capable of invigorating the community and inspiring economic growth.  However, with its current poor leadership, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) supported by the 2013 Grand Jury report is correct, the Newberry CSD should be merged or dissolved.

      A splendid example of Robert Royalty's mismanagement is our missing fire truck.  The remedy is very straight forwarded.  It should only take a few phone calls to handle the problem.  However, Robert Royalty's only stupid remedy is to again run chicken scared to his position's guardian angel, the CSD's costly attorney.

      In the November 12, 2013, Newberry CSD's Special Meeting's agenda package, it was suggested that the CSD cut one of the staff's payroll by $200 a month in order help balance the budget.  Note, there was no suggestion that the incompetent board give up their undeserved stipends.

Whereabouts of Newberry Springs' fire truck is still unknown,
presumed to be in the state of Colorado.

      Yet, with a budget nearly running in the red, Royalty has no problem in constantly turning matters, that staff should deal with, over to a high priced attorney to further drain the CSD's public coffer.

      The CSD has denied a California Public Records Act request to release specific data as to what each of Royalty's trots to legal counsel are costing the Newberry Springs taxpayers.

      The CSD, under Royalty, claims attorney-client confidential privilege; so the public has no idea as to how much Royalty's repeated cries for legal opinion are costing the district.  Only the district's monthly warrant register provides some insight as to what the total costs are for all of the CSD's legal matters.

      The Grand Jury has been so critical over Robert Royalty and the board's mismanagement that Royalty appears paralyzed, shaking in his Fruit of the Loom, incapable of management without first having a WRITTEN opinion from the board's attorney.

      The citizens of Newberry Springs elected the board to manage the district.  Not an outside-the-community attorney.

      From what has been publicly disclosed, the innocent buyer of the fire truck has had its down payment possibly embezzled by the Newberry CSD's contracted dealer.  As one observer to the November 19 meeting privately commented, why hasn't the CSD simply telephoned the DMV for replacement of any missing deposit funds through the dealer's DMV bond?  It's that simple!  Why pay for hours of an attorney padding his bill?

      A simple report to the insurance company of the disappearance of the fire truck would have the insurance company doing and paying for any legal work.

      One curve in the matter is that the CSD contracted Fire Trucks Plus of Ontario, California, to sell the truck.  That Fire Trucks Plus did (apparently).  So the truck was not stolen.  However, the CSD has received no paperwork on the sale.  So the problem appears to be a civil matter.  Something that the insurance attorneys and the DMV could handle; and probably are doing anyway without the necessity of going through Royalty's costly legal middleman.

      As previously published in the Blotter, the NCSD has a $25,954.92 bank payment due on the fire truck lease on December 4, 2013.  Royalty is holding off on making the payment, waiting to hear from the attorney.  The payment is legally due!  There is no question that it should be paid as the Newberry CSD still holds title.  Nonpayment will cause the Newberry CSD to have its credit rating dinged.  Why should the CSD be paying an attorney over such obvious matters?

      We'd all like to believe that those who hold elected office are competent and are not just there to stroke their own egos.  However, years of CSD floundering over the simple management of a volunteer fire department, park maintenance, and street lights have documented a terrible incompetence (2013 Grand Jury report).

      Newberry Springs isn't moving forward, but literally backwards!  Newberry citizens who claim that the Newberry CSD must be kept, under all circumstances, are in denial or ignorant of reality.

      The merging of the Daggett and the Yermo CSDs may hold some merit; but merging Newberry with either doesn't.  An alternative is allowing a county takeover with the establishment of a Newberry Springs' Municipal Advisory Council to the local county district supervisor.  The council would be appointed by the supervisor of local residents who would advise the supervisor of community concerns.  County control would allow professional services and resources that Newberry Springs currently lacks.

      The greatest problem with the majority of the current and past board members is ignorance.  Ignorance of their proper roles, guidelines, procedures, and the law in conducting a properly managed CSD.  For that the solution is for the board members and staff to take the necessary time out of their personal lives to acquire training.  With the participation of the county's eight CSDs, collaborated training can be brought to the High Desert area at little cost to the district.  Perhaps even funded through LAFCO.

      Those that take on the role of public office should take the responsibility of taking the training necessary to properly perform their job.

Related link:
Wanted: New GM • Return of fire truck.


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