Newberry CSD Board
Forming An Oligarchy

President Seeley Rewrites Bylaws
To Increase Board Members' Stipend Income
And Powers

Newberry CSD
Portion of proposed Bylaws front cover page.

      Under a current Newberry CSD Bylaws draft, principally engineered by CSD President Robert Seeley, the Newberry CSD board will the voting on significantly increasing the stipend compensation they receive and increasing their current and possibly future powers as a collective board.

      The current Bylaws allow for a stipend of up to $100 to be paid to each director per board meeting.  As the Board is now meeting twice per month, their stipend is limited to $200 each per month.  Under the new rewrite, emergency meetings, which can involve such matters as possible litigation or an employee matter, will also be included.  These urgent matters can be numerous and add-up to many thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

      Volunteer service to one's community as a CSD Board member seems to be lost to this CSD Board who are now apparently targeting greater supplemental income for themselves in a hard economic time.  This is for a Board that has very limited responsibilities, such as maintaining a single park and a few street lights.  The principal responsibility is the local volunteer fire department and emergency first responder medical personnel for which the Board has paid personnel to assist.

Newberry CSD

      The new proposed Bylaws make a special effort to legitimize Director Calvin Owens, a captain of the Newberry Fire Department, to allow him to vote on fire department matters.  This is despite reports of an earlier legal opinion that he should not.

      It is clear that the Bylaws should not attempt to make special considerations to allow a Board member to vote on any matter that impacts a department to which he has an affiliation or receives some compensation.  Any direct tie to a voting matter does hold the appearance of a self-serving bias, influence, and a direct conflict of interest.

      What is being proposed, to allow Calvin Owens to vote on fire department matters, is bad public policy and appears to be a move by the CSD president to solidify a core of cronies around him.

      With such a special consideration for Calvin Owens embedded within the drafted Bylaws, Calvin Owens, due to a direct conflict of interest, should not vote on the proposed Bylaws adoption.

      The proposed Bylaws are also laced with new modifications that state and emphasize that those employed by the CSD serve solely at the discretion of the Board and that they may be terminated at the will of the Board, at any time, by a three member vote.

      This too is extreme and is exceptionally bad public policy.  Any firing should be for a demonstrated cause and not be at the arbitrary and capricious whim of three board members.  For instance, if Calvin Owens should dislike one of his superiors in the fire department, or want to move up into another's position, all that he would need to acquire is two other friendly board members to oust the individual; no explanation needed.

      How can a fire department attract and maintain highly qualified individuals when such Oligarchy powers exist.  Volunteer fire personnel invest thousands of dollars of their own money in qualifying and maintaining their volunteer services; and adding education to hopefully advance through the ranks.  The mere thought that three board members could pull their plug, at any time, without cause, and blemish their record, does not make it reasonable nor prudent for them to voluntarily serve the Newberry Springs community.

      President Seeley is also attempting to change the name of the fire department to include the word "Volunteer".  This will involve costs for modifications of the fire department's insignia on vehicles, letterheads, and records such as permits and licences that have proudly carried the current name since 1958.

      The Bylaws draft further includes the addition of many other services should the ambitious Newberry CSD be later given such power to perform them by a granting authority.

Proposed Newberry CSD Bylaws