Newberry CSD Votes Against
Another Bailout Of The
Newberry Service Association

The Newberry Springs Service Association's center.

July 29, 2013

Vote is based upon CSD's legal counsel's opinion
that supports the Community Alliance's earlier articles.

      The Newberry Community Services District board has dealt a major blow to the aspirations of the Newberry Springs Service Association (formerly the Senior Association) when it voted against the association's third-time bailout request for more CSD controlled funds.

      The denial was a longtime coming as the original request for emergency funding was presented by the service organization back in October 2012.  At the time, Brian Fisher, representing the association, expected an immediate funding as the two previous requests were quickly fulfilled.  Due to community opposition voiced at that meeting, the CSD board requested that the service association prepare and present a business plan.

      In November 2012, the service association presented a puny 9-page business plan that evidenced total business incompetency on the part of the association.  The CSD board however seemed to love it, not questioning a single element of the highly deficient plan; thereby illustrating the incompetency of the CSD board itself.

      As December rolled in, the service association despirately started a fundraiser and the CSD board wanted a review by legal counsel, that at the time, the CSD did not have on retainer.

      After the CSD acquired legal counsel, the CSD requested counsel to review a "Consulting and Recreation Services Agreement" with the Newberry Springs Service Association.  Counsel's response echoed the Community Alliance's earlier published statements that the CSD does not have the authority to enter into such an agreement with a private entity.

      Since the request has been languishing in limbo for three-quarters of a year; and with a response from counsel, Director Kathy Ridler brought forth the matter on the July 2013 monthly CSD agenda for a resolution.  Her recommendation was to follow legal counsel's opinion and deny the request.

      Upon opening the action item for vote before the board, Director Wayne Snively, a supporter of the service center, attempted to stall a foreseen negative funding vote by motioning that the matter be tabled for further review.  Snively has a close conflict-of-interest with the requesting association and was one of the community members that sought and acquired the Kiewit-Pacific funding for the community that has been used for the past bailouts.  The principle party responsible in acquiring the Kiewit-Pacific funds for the Newberry Springs community was Dr. Gavin M. Erasmus, an absentee Newberry Springs property owner.

      Director Snively feels that some additional Kiewit-Pacific funds should be given to the local service association; however, Snively ignores a 2005 community survey whereby the community directed the CSD as to how to spend the community's Kiewit-Pacific funds.  The survey directed the expenditures to road improvement and the community's youth.  The senior center received only a couple of votes placing it at the bottom of the list.  The CSD has since completely ignored the community's youth by placing priority on the fire department and the seniors.

      Snively's motion for delay failed.  A board vote was then taken that quashed the funding request.

      After the vote was taken, service center members in the audiance wanted to review the legal opinion that doomed their request.  CSD president Robert Royalty, who is the acting chairperson at the meetings, refused the request stating that the opinion was privileged between the attorney and the board.

      Since the opinion is not restricted by law, as involving someone's employment or ongoing litigation, it should be open to public inspection.  The board is representing the people and public tax dollars are being spent for the opinion.  The opinion is owned by the people.

      Furthermore, California open meeting laws mandate that if a document is a substantial component for the basis of a public board decision, then for transparency that document must be made available to the public for inspection.  Royalty's refusal to release the opinion, in its entirety, is a clear violation of the Ralph Brown Act; and it was Royalty's second violation of the Act at that meeting.

      The Community Alliance on July 25, 2013 filed a Public Records Act request with the Newberry CSD for the release of the opinion.

      Although the loss of the expected funding will be difficult for the service association, it may be a blessing.  To survive, the association will be forced to make necessary changes that it has been unwilling to do.  Changes that should make it stronger and a better service to the community.

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