What is going on at West Valley Water???

Let me first off say that if you are a customer of West Valley Water you have to be concerned with your water provider being able to provide you with clean drinking water. Why would I say this? The entire time Clifford Young has been a Director of West Valley Water he has used West Valley funds to investigate and sue people who refuse to fall in line with his rule. Here is a short and not complete list of people he has spent rate payers money eithier investigating or suing since 2014:

  • Butch Ariza – Former West Valley Water GM and Candidate for the board Clifford used rate payer money to investigate if Mr. Ariza was legally allowed to run for the elected seat. Normally this is left to the Registrar of Voters but since Mr. Young hated Mr. Ariza he took matters into his own hands.

  • Board Member Alan Dyer – Mr. Dyer is another person that refused to go along with Clifford Young and his antics so he too was investigated with rate payer money on the validity of his residence. Now you may say this was more appropriate but no. When local Rialto City Council member Deborah Robertson investigated the validity of her fellow Council member Ed Palmer’s residence she sued him personally no taxpayer money was used.
  • Redwing and Sherill – Since this company was not connected to Mr. Young and his closest campaign contributors money and time was wasted looking over a long series of paid and unpaid bills.

  • The entire 2017 Executive Board – Given no public explanation even though the board members have publicly asked for one Dr. Clifford Young,Sr. has refused to justify yet another misuse of public funds as he descends onto another personal witch hunt.

The main constant here is that all of these Investigations or Suits have amounted to NOTHING!!!! Dr. Clifford Young,Sr. has not produced one shred of public evidence that these actions were warranted and no actions have come from the misuse of public funds. Normally when money is spent from the public funds there is some report able action that comes along even if it is a net loss something is brought forward. Not in the world of Mr. Young he uses the public’s funds at his own desire with no public accountability.
Here are a few more times where Mr. Young has repeatably taken liberties with the public’s funds:
  • Sources report that Mr. Young has all of his fellow directors book hotel stay’s and conference registrations with his personal credit card so that he can stack up extra cash back bonus points. Then he and the other directors are reimbursed from the Water District leaving Mr. Young with a windfall of cash back points. You may say who cares they don’t go to that many things right? WRONG they pad their pockets by attending meaningless meetings and functions so that they can earn more money. They are paid a fixed amount per event they attend on behalf of the Water District no matter how long they stay. Instead of using a district credit card to pay for expenses, Young uses his personal credit card for such expenses so he could earn credit rewards and Marriott points. It led to former district CFO Suzanne Cook being fired after bringing the matter to Young’s attention. Cook sued the district in July, and the case is still pending, court records show. (Sun)
  • Clifford Young is now on his fourth General Manager and Third Legal Counsel Firm in the four years since he has been a Director with West Valley Water. Let me tell you these contracts are not cheap to begin with and the clauses for removing them before their contract is up isn’t cheap either.
  • Since Mr. Young has been on the board he has not only raised Directors ability to make more money but has further limited the communities ability to interact with the Water Board click here to read more.
  • Lawsuits Clifford Young and West Valley Water currently find themselves up against the future liability of workplace harassment lawsuits as spelled out by Hardy Brown Senior (click here)
  • Six figure no-bid contracts are awarded to friends of the board.
  • Young routinely forced staff to hire colleagues from his former job at CSUSB, including paying one a salary of $260,000 a year with no job description.
  • Young regularly expensed alcohol and charged it to the agency & regularly expensed meals for his wife and charged the agency against policy. (click here)

What we found alarming when we first began reporting on West Valley Water and the mess that resides in the Elected body was the strong desire to control the release of information about what is going on there. Board Director Greg Young once tried to have Joise Gonzales the local Board Supervisor to silence us (see here) add to that the constant threats by Clifford Young to Sue Us for slander (never happened) there is a strong move to silence the media going on here and now we see why.

For the longest time Clifford Young was able to keep under the radar of bigger media sources (even though we tried hard to nudge them into looking into West Valley’s actions). Well with the recent elections where Clifford Young was able to fully secure 4 out of 5 board seats on the West Valley Board and has his eye on getting Mr. Olinger out of the Board in the coming election to secure complete control he forgot that his friend and now board director Mike Taylor has already secured a steady stream of media attention with his actions in Baldwin Park. Mr Young also lost sight of Mr Taylors bad deeds seeping into Rialto:

  1. When Baldwin Park rehired Michael Taylor as its police chief, the city included a provision in his contract that makes him exceedingly difficult to fire. Taylor can only be terminated from his $234,000-a-year job, according to the agreement, if he commits a felony. Baldwin Park leaders also prohibited themselves from giving Taylor annual performance evaluations. The agreement allows the council to place Taylor on administrative leave — but with pay. The contract term is only for one year. But if the council doesn’t renew it, Taylor gets a severance package worth three months’ salary.
  2. Taylor was recently elected board member at West Valley Water District in Rialto, about 39 miles from Baldwin Park, soon after returning as police chief. One of Taylor’s first actions as a new director on Dec. 7 was to vote for a new attorney to serve the district: Robert Tafoya, the Baldwin Park city attorney who weeks earlier presented the chief’s employment contract to that city’s council for approval.
  3. Taylor has taken money from a drug operation in Baldwin Park where he is the police chief to fund his campaign for West Valley Water Board. Taylor who received help from local republican and tea party groups on his campaign are the same groups who claim to be against drug legalization in California.
  4. Taylor is also accused of moving money around as a way to cover the origins of said money. In another story by the legal lens businesses that are known for using campaign contributions as a way to secure favorable contrasts within the city of Baldwin Park are now spending money here in the West Valley Water Races.
  5. A person of interest in the character assassination of Kareem Gongora when Kareem was running for special election for Fontana Unified School Board is the listed Treasurer for Mike Taylor. The same campaign that shifted money around and took drug money to win a campaign.
  6. Board President Clifford Young has misappropriated public funds and routinely engages in unfair hiring practices, with no regard to staff concerns and district policies and procedures. (Sun)
  7. Young, according to a memo, demanded the district hire people that he worked with at Cal State San Bernardino or had personal affiliations with. (Sun)
  8. Young awarded no-bid contracts to friends, including political lobbyist William Lowery and public relations expert Patrick O’Reilly. Additionally, Young received more than $42,000 in reimbursement for travel, meals and incidentals and more than $43,000 in director fees. He does not provide line item receipts to “ensure that the district is not paying for prohibited expenses such as alcohol,” (Sun)

So Rialto you have one question to ask yourselves. Why do we keep accepting this type of behavior and failed leadership? Don’t the people of West Valley Water deserve better? Where is the DA’s of Riverside, San Bernardino and LA Counties at? Are they going to allow failed leadership to break the rules with ZERO accountability?

 

Video

Meet West Valley Water Board Candidate Robert Bourland

Welcome to our individual interviews with Candidates running for local elections. All candidates were given the same questions and allowed the freedom to answer as they see fit. We did not alter any of the responses so you are hearing things directly from them.

In this interview we are introducing you to Robert Bourland. Mr. Bourland is a person we didn’t know a lot about and he was appointed to the West Valley Water Board by the Board of Supervisors to fill the appointed spot that Rafael Trujillo vacated after he was elected to city council. Mr. Bourland was the successful candidate and appointed to this position by the San Bernardino County Supervisors after an exhaustive search and interview process over a number of other potential candidates.

There are a couple of candidates that have an extensive background in providing utility services to this region and Robert Bourland is one of those candidates, enjoy.

First, I’d like to express my appreciation for bringing out the real issues the voters should be looking at and not the partisan political statements, the slander that’s been so freely flowing and the made-up promises that cannot be delivered unless appropriate due-diligence is done, contrary to some of the political propaganda being propagated.

 

1)      Tell us about yourself where did you grow up, go to school and work before?

  • I have lived in Rialto since 1964. I went to Morgan elementary, Frisbie Junior High, Eisenhower High, San Bernardino Valley College and California State San Bernardino. While attending college I worked full-time at Stater Brothers grocery stores. After obtaining my Bachelor’s degree I started my career at Southern California Edison as a meter reader, ultimately retiring as an Executive. Along with serving on the WVWD board, I currently serve on the Board of Directors at Anand-PAG LLC.
  • For a more detailed review of my extensive work experience please see my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/robertbourland

 

2) How does your past make you a good candidate for West Valley Water Board?

  • I have over 35 years of experience in the utility industry, including water, gas and electric. Prior to my retirement at SCE, I was responsible for the entire portfolio of applications at the company including Customer Service, Transmission & Distribution, Generation, Conservation, Technology etc. This is exactly the same work that West Valley Water District does, except that SCE was on a much larger scale. I KNOW this business, how to run it, fix it, make it more efficient which ultimately leads to safer, more reliable and the most affordable water possible.
  • At SCE I ran an organization of several hundred people and was responsible for budgets of well over $200. Million (about 10 times what the WVWD budget is)
  • I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Anand-PAG LLC, a mid-size technology company
  • I have previously served as Board President of the El Rancho Verde MAC committee
  • I have previously served on the Visitors Board of Claremont College

 

 

3)      Some of you are incumbents what have you learned since being elected or appointed that you didn’t know until you sat in the elected seat?

  • Overseeing a water district is very similar to overseeing any other utility which I have spent my last 35+ years doing very successfully.  I’ve been disappointed to learn that in dealing with elected officials and “wannabe” elected officials, they are willing to say things to garner votes, instead of doing what’s right for the district, employees and ultimately the rate payers.
  • My commitment is to always focus on the issues at-hand and deal with them keeping in mind the best interests of our constituents, employees and the water district. I will not be influenced by political inclinations or other outside influences.

 

 

4) How important is transparency to you?

  • Transparency in an organization builds trust amongst employees and our ratepayers. It is a critical success factor for the newly elected board to rebuild that trust that has eroded over the past several years. I will accept nothing less than full transparency as we work towards the success of our District.

 

5) Do you believe that partisan politics have a place within a water board seat?

  • Absolutely not! Decisions made by the WVWD board should be based entirely on the facts of the matter at hand to ensure safe, reliable and affordable water to our ratepayers. As opposed to the stated view of some of the candidates (per their campaign literature), I do not believe partisan politics should have any influence, at all, on the policies adopted by this board.
  • In regards to partisanship on the board, I think it’s important to note that I’m supported by both Josie Gonzales (D) and Janice Rutherford (R).

 

6) What is your impression of the communities freedom of speech?

  • Freedom of speech is everyone’s lawful right in our wonderful country and I fully support that. I also believe that we should self-impose some moral and ethical boundaries upon ourselves out of respect for one another and our diverse beliefs. Although to-date none of this has been targeted against me, I’m abhorred at some of the campaign literature mailed during this election. Candidates should focus on what they stand for and their value proposition, not putting out half-truths and disparaging remarks about others.

 

7) What are your thoughts on budget surpluses? Should they be a certain percentage of the overall budget or are they even important?

  • As a government entity, WVWD is a not-for-profit organization. The budgeting process is intended to anticipate all costs needed for normal operations as well as unexpected events. Because WVWD is a government agency, there is no “budget surplus” built into the budget. The budget will be “even” where the incoming revenue is equal to the expected expenditures for the upcoming year.
  • What some people inaccurately perceive to be a “surplus” are in fact essential items needed for the effective operations of the water district. Examples are:

o   Government mandated reserve policies to insure liquidity

o   Emergency funds for leaks, breaks, failures etc.

o   Contingencies for expected costs that might overrun anticipated costs

o   Ongoing liabilities such as bond covenants, pension liabilities, capital improvement projects

o   Capital improvements for projects to replace the miles of pipelines that are aged and are in dire need of replacement before catastrophic failure

o   Capital improvement projects to expand and insure our water services are not interrupted

  • My commitment is to insure that the costs to obtain our water, to purify our water, to deliver our water to our constituents will be the lowest possible, which will lead to the lowest possible rates to our customers.

 

List any and all contact info people can use to get a hold of you or learn more. Also please include a photo we can use for your article. If you have any video links you would like included please Include those as well.

 

Image

Rialto Relay for Life event kicks off tomorrow with a Celebrity Guest

Below is a list of events and some of the awesome things in store for tomorrow. The local celebrity that can be seen in Rialto regularly showing off what is cool to do and see right here in our little town is pretty popular. The exact time for the local celebrity arrival with his ever so popular live video stream that is seen by hundreds of thousands of Facebook users hasn’t been announced but as soon as we find out you will know so stay tuned/

Join Joel Greene as he helps to kick off the Rialto Relay for Life event. This year the Rialto event is looking to raise $30 Thousand to combat cancer. If you would like to help them hit that mark you can donate any amount by clicking here.

Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities and 27 countries. Volunteers give of their time and effort because they believe it’s time to take action against cancer.

Join us at these events to bring communities together to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society make a global impact on cancer.

Time: 9:00am

We’ll kick off the event by celebrating everyone who’s been affected by cancer. Whether someone’s been diagnosed for 10 days or been cancer-free for 10 years, they gather together for the crowd to cheer them on.

Survivors & Caregiver Lap

Time: 9:30am

Survivors define courage and inspire those facing a cancer diagnosis. Their strength is honored with each step they take around the first lap. If you know anyone who’s overcome cancer, invite them to join.

Caring for others is such a selfless act, which is why we honor caregivers with a lap. They often walk with the person they’ve supported.

Fight Back Ceremony

Time: 10:00am

Have you ever wanted to see a cement truck up close? Climb inside a cherry picker? Explorer a firetruck? Join us for a second annual Touch-A-Truck event.

Kids Corner sponsored by Target with games, crafts and activities for kids of all ages.

Be your own builder. Join us for a kids workshop sponsored by the Home Depot where kids can use tools to build their own creations.

Time: 4:00 pm

We will talk about what we can do beyond the event to fight back against this horrible disease.

Time: 9:00 pm

Each Luminaria bag represents a loved one lost to cancer, brings support to those affected by it, and honors survivors. This powerful moment gives people the opportunity to grieve but also offers hope and comfort.

Closing Ceremony

Time: 10:30 pm

We celebrate all that we’ve accomplished together and remember those we’ve lost. Together, we commit to take action and help end the pain and suffering of cancer.

Niagara Water Gets Caught Lying To Local Rialto Reporter

When our staff found out about the Grand Opening ceremony at the Niagara bottling plant we decided to head up and see who was there and get some great video and pictures. What we were met with were lies and fear from the Mayor of Rialto Deborah Robertson and the executive staff at the Rialto Niagara bottling plant. Mayor Robertson saw our staff getting out of their vehicles and she darted into the building. Once inside our staff were met with some questions on who we were with then a lady from Niagara Water Came out and told us that press and media were not allowed in their Grand Openings. Well as you can see from the video above apparently that only applies to Rialto because in Pierce County the media was given full access to the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting.

So what does it say about a company that allows local elected mayors to use them to keep people out of informing the public through good ole fashioned reporting methods?

Video

Unboxing the Rialto Water Services Water Saving Kit

As you saw in our un-boxing video there are a number of things you can do inside of your home to save water and most of those things came in this water saver kit. In the video below Joel Greene host of Curiosity Quest shows you how to use the things inside this box and why they work.

Now Rialto Water Services claims to have increased customer service and is working to make your experience with them as painless as possible. What is funny is if you spell the name Rialto Water Services right in google you get this:

Rialto Water Services google

Rialto Water Services has not registered their new address with Google. Well who cares right its not like were living in a digital age where use google to locate places. Rialto Water Services spends money where it counts, on the pet projects of our elected officials. Go ahead try and get them to donate money to keep kids off drugs or help people without jobs get training that will help them find work. Unless your connected to one of the elected officials you will find ZERO help here.

Now if your having a bad day you might just stumble over the correct search as long as you don’t click Googles correction of your spelling of the name RialtoWaterServices.

did you mean rialto water

So if your looking for Rialto Water its not as easy as they make it seem………..

Video

West Valley Water District Board Calls Special Meeting

So in today’s era of the Great California Drought and the massive amount of influence that local water boards have on the use and cost of your families water more attention is being put on Elected Boards that have a direct influence on our most valuable utility water. Most water companies are overseen by a Utility Commission but the final body to approve changes lies with Elected Council members and Mayors. Well in Rialto there is a strange mixture of utilities when it comes to the delivery of water and sewer services. This isn’t a perfect boarder but basically if you live south of Baseline Ave your serviced by Rialto Water Services north of Baseline you are part of West Valley Water.

West Valley apparently had a very turbulent board meeting according to Board Member Linda Gonzalez on Board Vice President Clifford Young’s Facebook page:

WVWD HeatedNow Mrs. Gonzalez telling people to check the minutes was a weird statement due to the fact that the only minutes that had been published were up to 9-3-15. Never the less we hear that there is a special meeting that was called and here is the meat of the agenda:

BUSINESS MATTERS

Consideration of:

1. Appointment of Special Counsel.

2. Appointment of Confidential Assistant to Report Directly to the West Valley Water Districts Board of Directors.

3. Appointment of Treasurer for the West Valley Water District Board of Directors.

4. Begin Conducting an Independent Review of all West Valley Water Districts Contracts.

5. Independent Review of all Contracts during the Tenure of Prior West Valley Water Districts General Manager. Consideration of Possible Suspension of all District Contracts Independent of Contracts Directly Critical to the Delivery, Safety and Operation of Water Services to the District.

ADJOURN

Rumors are flying about the reason for the special counsel that the board is looking to hire as well as why does the WATER BOARD need a Confidential Assistant? Were also wondering why this board is now calling into question EVERY SINGLE contract that was signed during the tenure of Mr. Butch Ariza the former General Manager of the WVWD. A lot of this smells of political leveraging against Mr. Ariza due to the fact that he is running for a seat on the water board. It’s horrible because public safety doesn’t even seem to matter as they look to suspend “Suspension of all District Contracts Independent of Contracts Directly Critical to the Delivery, Safety and Operation of Water Services to the District” This is horrible and has us wondering what is the motive for such a bold move?

Our 2 cents is they know that they fly way under the public radar and they think you don’t care enough to get upset. Well it should be on your radar because these people are well compensated for their time sitting on this board. According to the link on the WVWD website that each board member can be compensated at least $13,000 each year and the General Manager can approve for them to go over that amount if need be. See the info below if you wish to attend tomorrows SPECIAL BOARD MEETING:

WEST VALLEY WATER DISTRICT

855 W. Base Line Road, Rialto, CA

SPECIAL BOARD MEETING

AGENDA

Monday, October 12, 2015- 12:00 p.m.

“In order to comply with legal requirements for posting of agendas, only those items iiled with the District Secretary’s office by noon, on Wednesday prior to the following Monday Special Board meeting, not requiring departmental investigation, will be considered by the Board of Directors.”

OPENING CEREMONIES

Pledge of Allegiance

Call to Order

Roll Call of Board Members

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION:

Any person wishing to speak to the Board of Directors on matters listed or not listed on the agenda, within its jurisdiction, is asked to complete a Speaker Card and submit it to the District Clerk. Each speaker is limited to three (3) minutes. Under the State of California Brown Act, the Board of Directors is prohibited from discussing or taking action on any item not listed on the posted agenda. Comments related to noticed Public Hearing(s) and Business Matters will be heard during the occurrence of the item.

 

Results from the Veolia Workshop

So on Monday June 16th the City Council held a workshop to get a report of the first year of the water services contract with Veolia Water Services acting as Rialto Water Services. From the sounds of it this was something that Veolia did not want to publicized because on almost every account they are behind on the infrastructure improvements six months to one and a half years. Ullico is in charge of tracking and auditing the progress Veolia has made in the first year of the 30 year contract.

Marcus Fuller the Department Head from Public Works and Ullico worked very hard to turn a bad report into a better one but the city council, Mayor & Mayor Pro Tem all saw through the smoke and mirrors. Below you will see some of the slides Ullico presented to city council last week:

Here you will see that Veolia is one year five months behind on roughly 2 million dollars worth of improvements, eight months behind schedule on 3.6 million dollars worth of improvements & five months behind on 876 thousand dollars worth of improvements. Now Ullico wants you to give Veolia a break as they want to drag their feet and “get comfortable” with the contract they took on after American Water was kicked out of the deal by Rialto Residents and the Union that represented the water employees.

 

Embedded image permalink

One major issue with giving them months and months to go over this infrastructure agreement is the 41 million will soon begin to be eaten up when interest rates increase. This means their will be less money to complete the long list of projects Former Mayor Grace Vargas, Former Councilman Ed Scott, Current Mayor Deborah Robertson and Current Mayor Pro Tem Ed Palmer all said were so vital to Rialto moving forward as a progressive city. Council Members told us these upgrades would be vital to major projects like the proposed Super Walmart & the Target Shopping Center that no longer has a Target store (Target has backed out). So what happens if Super Walmart goes in and the sewer system isn’t able to handle the bump in use? There was talk of the sewers backing up and spilling out into the streets.

Councilman O’Connell asked the VP of Veolia if the interest rates caused the money to be used up prior to completion of the listed projects would Veolia see those projects to completion. The VP of Veolia said no.

So Veolia can drag their feet and tie up these projects in paperwork and read tape while the clock ticks and you continue to pay massive increases to your rates with NO CHANGE. Even their field techs, people that live and work in this city are blown away and say that Veolia is doing nothing!!!!

The end result was a motion to have Marcus Fuller, Public Works Director meet with Rialto Water Services and Veolia to get a expedited time frame of when we can see projects beginning the construction phase. Marcus Fuller will report the outcomes in 90 days from the meeting date.

We have reached out to Veolia VP Lanita McCauley Bates and Rialto Veolia Manager Michael Greene when they respond we will update with their comments.

Suprise Special Council Meeting

So those of you using water services its time to listen up. It appears there is a “Public Hearing” scheduled for tomorrow in regards to the financial performance of Table Rock Capital & the performance of Veolia as our water & waste water provider. What you didn’t know? Well that’s because someone at city hall doesn’t want you there. The meeting was hidden in the city calendar with no title unless you click the highlighted date. Even then it only states that its a special council meeting. Then you must dig through the confusing agenda procedure to find the agenda (here is the link) https://rialto.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx

Oh and don’t worry everything is very confusing and hard to understand so here are the last minute bullet points we were able to pull out.

  • The spending is and was out of control, money is going into local consultants pockets to the tune of around 8 million dollars.
  • RUA reserves were depleted to the tune of 3.4 million dollars.
  • Your rates have gone up to cover infrastructure costs yet no improvement have been made and the ones that have been scheduled have been delayed again.
  • Veolia has spent your money moving into a new building and delayed doing their jobs.
  • Veolia claims your customer service problems are minor and not an issue.
  • The main reason for this agreement was to have the money to shut down the airport for a Target Shopping center is a thing of the past as Target has been out of the deal for years.
  • From all appearances we are stuck with this deal until 2042!!!!!!!!!!!
  • City Clerk Barbara McGee refused to honor the communities petition.
  • Table Rock Paid 1 million more than necessary to remove American Water from the agreement.

Does anyone have the presence of mind to call Table Rock Financial and Veolia on the carpet for what they have done and not done? Are you tired of paying more money for below par service and a company that has worst customer service than the Ca. DMV? Well tomorrow you have the right and ability to have your questions answered or air the horrible customer service that Veolia really provides the customers in Rialto.

Meeting details:

City Hall

6/16/14 @ 6pm

Can’t Make the meeting follow us on twitter http://www.twitter.com/rialtosnow follow #RialtoWaterReport

You can watch online at http://rialto.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=4

Rialto Network staff are the Customer Service liaisons between the Citizen’s of Rialto and Time Warner Ch. 3 & AT&T Ch. 99 for Cable issues and can be reached at (909) 421-7235.

Tab 1

Approving the final financing table rock

Tab 2

Veolia’s 1st year performance

Re Cap on City Council Meeting on 4-8-14

Photo: Visit www.rialtonow.com to get a break down of this map and so much more from Tuesday

Number 1 is the proposed location of the new stop light. Number 2 is where the city is looking to extend the existing road median. MC is where the 4th Mc Donald’s will be and the GAS is the proposed location of the Food 4 Less Gas Station

Hello Rialto residents if you didn’t follow us on twitter ( http://www.twitter.com/rialtosnow ) on Tuesday night you missed a couple interesting agenda and consent calendar items. Below we have them listed out for your reading enjoyment.

Consent Calendar D. 10

So normally consent calendar items are rarely ever discussed the consent calendar is meant to approve a block of items that have minimal importance, low dollar amount or lately a way to slide an item by the public without any response from your elected officials. The only way these items are discussed in the open is if they are pulled by one member for separate consideration or a separate vote meaning someone has a issue, question or problem with any particular item.

So on this occasion there were three items pulled for separate consideration. The first two were uneventful and took minimal time D. 10 was not so easy. Councilman O Connell was the one that placed this item on the agenda and Mayor Robertson pulled the item. So what was D. 10? D. 10 was a request that council direct the clerks office to provide detail minutes versus ACTION minutes. What’s the difference? The difference is action minutes merely report the overall final vote 3-1, 4-0 ect. Over the last 6 months the Clerk has given the city ACTION minutes only. So when the Mayor was accused of giving preferred treatment to one security contractor over another. their is no record, or the funny way the money from the sale of our water company for 30 million dollars has been allocated and many other examples.

Mayor Robertson issue was that the city council was directing one elected official to do something? She went on about different branches of government and not over stepping boundries. It sounds good right council cant direct the City Clerk to do something right? Well if our City Clerk was only a City Clerk it would be that way. Our City Clerk is also a Department Head she makes a nice yearly salary department heads report to the city council and mayor as well as the city administrator. Councilman O Connell came prepared for the item to be pulled because he came with a power point that really drove the point home about why he was concerned about the ACTION minutes. There was a lot of back and forth where even the City Clerk tried to blame her lack of reporting on the moving of her offices, lowered staff and being ill. The city attorney said that the way this issue was handled was if the city had a Municipal Code directing what type of minutes were to be generated which Rialto does not have, so they fall back to state law which states that ACTION minutes were the bare minimum. The outcome was the City Attorney would draft a Municipal Code that would direct the Clerk to produce more than ACTION minutes. So this one is TO BE CONTUNIED……

Visit our twitter account and get a picture of Barbara McGee’s body language during the Councilman’s power point.

Agenda Tab 4

Welcome to Rialto the Home of Liquor Stores, Indoor Swap Meets & Mc Donald’s fast food chains. On Tuesday the City Council made this more of a reality. Apparently on the corner of Cedar & Foothill where the Verizon Store is and the empty video rental building is will now house Rialto’s 4th Mc Donald’s chain. But wait there is more that very busy and dangerous shopping center is also getting a Food 4 Less Gas Station Yay?????? But wait there is more to make matters worse the city is extending a median on Cedar North of Foothill & putting another stop light between Linden and Cedar on Foothill???????

Neighborhood Watch Liaison for the Flores Park Neighborhood Watch addressed his concerns on Tuesday that the city was spending a total of $150,000 on a project that is only going to make traffic worse not better yet Flores Park Can’t get 1 single stop sign in front of their park to slow down traffic and help the RUSD traffic guard assist the children across this dangerous street. Council Members were un moved by the pleading from the community because the new gas station and Mc Donald’s brings in revenue. So I guess street safety is only important as long as the city can make money off it. The sad part is that this new Mc Donald’s is less than 50 feet from a Head Start Pre School that is already flanked by a wienerschnitzel so much for healthy Rialto. Anyone that uses this area already knows its a mess inside the shopping center traffic wise now that the city is going to force people to turn south onto Cedar which will be further backed up by an additional light on Foothill is a recipe for a disaster.

As to Flores Park and their desire for a stop sign on Etiwanda no one on the council seemed to care. Especially Public Works Director Marcus Fuller who increased the speed limit on Etiwanda by 15 MPH from 25 MPH to 40 MPH. When asked why he stated that 80 percent of the people were speeding on the street so they increased the speed to accommodate the speeding public. There seems to be no law preventing turning our local streets into legal drag strips. Both Cactus and Cedar that run parallel to Etiwanda have speed limits of 50 MPH just 15 MPH shy of a freeway. Flores Park said the will continue to push on the issue and look into legal avenues to force the city to offer protections for our neighborhoods and community streets.

4214.jpg

http://kec.rialto.k12.ca.us/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1391775088119

 

 

Issues over Rialto City Attorney Contract

jimmy

Jimmy Gutierrez is our current city attorney in the city of Rialto. According to reports from City Hall he has operated over the last 5 years on a $600,000 a year for his base salary. What is worse is he nickel and dimes the city for every little thing he does raising the rate we pay him every year more and more.

This year with some fresh blood in the council many contracts have come under review and put back out to bid. The thought process according to Mike Story is to make sure we are getting the best bang for our buck. The city of Rialto has made changes to many contracts saving the city and the community thousands of dollars. From the contract security services, to street sweeping and technology services the fat is being cut and the city is looking to streamline services. City attorney Jimmy Gutierrez’s contract ended in June 2013. So what do we do?

Under the guise of cutting fat city council formed a committee to look at ways of reducing attorney costs for Rialto. What the Sub committee came up with was a temporary extension of City Attorney services with Jimmy Gutierrez. This was done so that the city could develop an RFP and bid out services for Attorney costs for the city. Another task was writing Jimmy Gutierrez’s extension while reducing costs. City staff reported as well as Councilwoman Lynn Hirtz over the phone that it was difficult to get Jimmy Gutierrez to make concessions on his pay to help the city further save money. It wasn’t until right before the July 23rd Council meeting that Jimmy Gutierrez reluctantly agreed to a compensation adjustment.

Joe Baca Jr. said at the July 23rd council meeting that the communities biggest issue was with the city attorney is the cost. Is that really the greatest concern of the community? I remember most recently that Jimmy Gutierrez along with City Clerk McGee gave city council direction to ignore the fact that the Rialto residents received enough signatures to remove the toxic water deal that is already hurting Rialto residents. Or how about the Super Wal-Mart that is set to increase crime and create more business blight that our city can’t or refuses to take action on. Councilman Baca seems to miss the fact that it appears our attorney has been doing his best to rip off the community under the guise of business as usual. Jimmy Gutierrez has also been arrested in suspicion of driving under the influence and was allowed to plead no contest and avoid any real consequences. Also lets not forget Jimmy Gutierrez is also the city attorney for 3 other cites.

We had the opportunity to speak with some of the players involved in this meeting:

I reached out to City Administrator Mike Story and asked who wrote this contract? It was developed by Councilman Joe Baca Jr. & Lynn Hirtz who are the subcommittee of the council looking at the contract along with Jimmy Gutierrez. So Jimmy Gutierrez and the subcommittee wrote it? Jimmy Gutierrez prepared the contract at the direction of the subcommittee. After several attempts by the subcommittee to get Jimmy Gutierrez to make their recommended changes including a reduction in fees, the subcommittee directed me (Mike Story) to make the changes they requested.

I reached out to Lynn Hirtz and she said that she only voted for the temporary contract with Jimmy Gutierrez because she felt obligated to. Councilwoman Hirtz stated over the phone that she felt obligated to vote with Councilman Joe Baca Jr. in reference to an amendment that was brought up by Councilman O’connell. Councilman O’connell brought up a very important “what if” Jimmy Gutierrez does go over the 160 hour limit each month. So mayor Deborah Robertson made a amendment that if Jimmy Gutierrez does go over the 160 limit anything over that would have to be approved by the council PRIOR to going over the limit. So due to the fact that the subcommittee that she was a part of brought this forward Lynn Hirtz & Joe Baca Jr moved and seconded the motion. She never thought of a situation where Jimmy Gutierrez would go over the 160 hours he was allotted by the temporary extension so she wasn’t sure why it was even an issue. Lynn Hirtz said she wasn’t a fan of the extension but went along with Joe Baca Jr. who was the biggest proponent of the city attorney extension. Lynn Hirtz also commented that Jimmy Gutierrez was upset that he would no longer be able to “ITEMIZE” for extra costs the gimmick he has exploited to bump up his compensation over the years.

Shawn O’Connell said July 23rd meeting I approved the contract the way it was written was never vetted by an attorney I instructed our city attorney to spend no more than 160 hours. This contract offers no way to control his ability to charge more and put the citizens at further liability which was what I was trying to convey on July 23rd. Mayor Robertson’s motion which I voted for instructed Jimmy Gutierrez to inform Mike Story before he went over the allotted 160 hours, My fear is this isn’t the way its going to work out.

The second issue is with the time line for releasing the RFP and beginning to look for other options for our city attorney. The proposed timeline for releasing the RFP begins releasing on October 1st. Mayor Pro-tem Ed Palmer asked why were we waiting until the bitter end to release the RFP. Mayor Pro-Tem said that if we run into issues like we did with security contract where there is a bump in the road. The issues was with the original RFP release schedule it would leave us without attorney services the first 14 days of January. Joe Baca Jr. refuses to look at the fact that Jimmy Gutierrez is out as our city attorney. Councilman O’Connell & Mayor Pro-Tem Palmer want to keep us from keeping someone on as our attorney that will act as a disgruntle employee.

What was most frustrating was that even though Lynn Hirtz saw an issue with the late releasing of the RFP she voted for it out of pressure to do so by Mayor Robertson & Councilman Baca Jr. because she was on the subcommittee. When I asked her over the phone about it she said she wanted to vote with Councilman O’Connell and Mayor Pro-Tem Palmer but she felt obligated to vote with her subcommittee co-member. I asked her if she thought Jimmy Gutierrez was going to mail it in these last months and try and collect as much money as possible. She said she never thought about that but since I brought it up she was so worried I was right and she may have made a poor decision.

I spoke to Councilman O’Connell prior to posting this story. Councilman O’Connell stated that the city attorney has yet to sign this contract offering the council and COMMUNITY the unique opportunity to revisit the contract and make the appropriate changes. The ACTIONABLE item is TAB 6 on the upcoming council meeting this Augsut 27th meeting at 6 pm.

So the question is do you agree with Councilman Joe Baca Jr. is the amount of the contract the ONLY issue you have with the city attorney contract? If it is do you believe that Jimmy Gutierrez waiting until the last moment to reluctantly agree to a reduction in fees then not sign the contract after a month does that sound like someone that is willing to work on price? Why does Councilman Joe Baca Jr. appear to run to Jimmy Gutierrez’s defense at every turn? What does that relationship pay the Baca family back? Where is the value for such a vigorous defense? Councilman O’Connell is right we have a unique opportunity here.

Watch the council meeting for yourself these tab items are at the end

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9QcQ26VvwQ

Jimmy Gutierrez can charge $225 an hour for attorney services and $75 an hour for paralegal services.

Previous Older Entries