Tuesday, May 22, 2012

(Kern) Grand Jury Slams Lebec Water Board—Twice

The Mountain Enterprise

LEBEC, CA (Monday, May 21, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.)—A second report this morning, the third in a series regarding the Lebec County Water District, has been released by a special committee of the Kern County Grand Jury.

The report is extremely critical of the current members of the LCWD board. Sample statements: "The Committee finds the lack of forward progress by the District Board and lack of concern for the District’s customers problematic. The Board’s primary focus does not appear to be running the District in the best manner possible for the public that the Board serves." and "...The District’s Board of Directors is fraught with self-serving members...."

The grand jury recommends that "Board members who consistently fail to comply with the District’s policies and/or their own responsibilities as members of the Board, should either obtain formal training on those matters and conduct themselves accordingly, or resign from the Board."

LEBEC, CA (Monday, May 21, 2012 at 9 a.m.)—In a carefully worded and detailed account issued this morning, a Kern County Grand Jury special committee has called the controversial actions of two former members of the Lebec County Water District Board of Directors' part of "a self-created emergency" to expedite installation of a 12" line without following legal procedure.

The report speaks of a "false statement" used to justify action requested by developers, but which skirted around required county and state inspections, ignored the district's own procedure manual and defied California's Ralph M. Brown Act. It also notes that a member of the current board, married to one of the former board members who acted outside the law and outside district procedure, should recuse herself in matters related to the district's adoption of the 12" line.

So far, board member Millie Karr has refused to recuse herself and has pushed to accelerate the new board's adoption of the 12" line.

The report also warns that homes in Chimney Canyon may be at risk if a fire being fought near the Holiday Inn Express Hotel —using water from the 12" line—were to deprive firefighters of sufficient water to also protect the homes above the hotel site.

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