Finding # 4: Directors appear ill-prepared to take action on agenda items.
Let’s draw a parallel to a student preparing for a final exam. Think of the study notes given by the instructor to the student. The study notes represent an agenda for the upcoming exam. Now consider the importance of the exam, there are exams for high school exit, exams for college entrance, exams for professional certifications… I think you get the picture.
As a public servant sworn to serve your local community you actually face an examination EVERYTIME you sit in front of your constituency. How dare a public servant not take the time to prepare for a public meeting? As a public servant in this capacity, the agenda serves as “study notes” for the exam the representative is about to take (in the form of) representing the interests of the community in matters vitally important to the very survival of the District.
Board Members owe it to the community they serve to be aware of previous matters, anticipate upcoming discussions and be prepared to interact professionally with community members.
In my research for this discussion, I discovered that RCSD Board members are paid $147.00 per meeting, regardless of how long the meeting lasts. In my opinion, with that level of compensation there is an inherent responsibility to at least perform in a manner commensurate with said compensation.
Back to the Grand Jury Report; the RCSD members were found “ill-prepared to take action on agenda items”. Apparently, because they do not take time to prepare themselves for meetings.
In the past as demonstrated in video recordings of session (readily available on YouTube) Board members are seen asking who, what, where & how at various agenda items before them. These basic questions clearly demonstrate that the members were gaining first-time exposure to several issues before them.
For example, when Steve Perez arranged a briefing with each one of the board members after they were elected to bring them up to speed on the issues they were facing, only Mr. Shingledecker was interested enough to show up. Interestingly Mr. MacKay and Mr. Landsgaard never took advantage of these “learning” opportunities.
As the General Manager, Mr. Perez is the responsible party for maintain information vital to the daily functions of the board. Not on a single occasion have any of them called Mr. Perez for information to prepare themselves for the meetings. This fact is evidenced by the fact that when someone from the community asks questions or makes a challenge, the board members get defensive or argumentative.
Clearly, these men are not prepared and do not know how to respond because they have not done any kind of research to form their positions on matters seemingly unimportant to them.
One final example to support this finding; on one occasion Mr. Landsgaard asked for the reinstatement of “Will Serve Letters” to be put on the agenda. When challenged on this action and questioned directly why in a stage 3 drought why would he want to guarantee water to contractors [special interests] when the town of Rosamond overall has been sacrificing to conserve its precious and limited water supply; he had no response.
Mr. Landsgaard was then asked if he had read the adjudication settlement [given to him five month previous to this meeting] and replied that he did not know all of the contents. Although his lack of understanding of the matter before the board was clearly demonstrated, Mr. Landsgaard rebuffed the questions pertaining to his understanding of the issue and pressed forward with an uninformed vote instead of calling for a vote delay to allow for more research.
To Board members, MacKay, Landsgaard, and Shingledecker; the past six months have been an exam, and you have failed miserably, the subpar performance of your elected duties in an irresponsible manner has levied undo risk upon the citizens of Rosamond. We deserve the best you can give us.
====================== Finding # 4 states: “Directors appear ill-prepared to take action on agendized items.”
“The RCSD’s official response to Finding # 4: “The Board disagrees with this finding. The Board asserts that this finding is mere opinion and speculation.”
To read the next section click here: The Midnight Writings: Finding 5 – “Bombshell”