Water board censures one of its members

By Karen Brainard

In a rare circumstance, Ramona Municipal Water District Board voted 4-1 to adopt a resolution censuring the conduct of one of its directors.

A resolution of censure regarding Director Kit Kesinger’s communication with a customer was read by board President Bryan Wadlington at a recent board meeting.

“It was a very uncomfortable matter,” Wadlington told the Sentinel.

The resolution states that the board finds that Kesinger “has engaged in unauthorized and unacceptabe conduct by engaging in commuications indicating that he could act unilaterally on any matter and without approval of the majority of the board.”

It also states that he engaged in “unauthorized and unacceptable conduct by making any statement alleged or determined to be defamatory.”

The communications involved a customer, George Newman, who appealed to the board on Dec. 13, 2011, for forgiveness of the balance of a water bill and a refund on past large water bills that he claimed were due to a faulty water meter. District staff reported they found the meter to be operating properly, and a hose bib was frozen in an open position.

Newman, however, said he has experienced several sudden spikes in his water bills over the past 10 years and, as a former manager of a city, where he was responsible for water and sewer, had experience with faulty meters.

Although Kesinger voted with the other four board members to deny Newman’s request due to lack of evidence, Kesinger said to Newman after the vote was taken: ”I’d be happy to work with you outside this meeting to see if you have more convincing evidence.”

Newman began corresponding with Kesinger by email and some of the emails were sent to other recipients, including Wadlington.

The board president said some of Newman’s emails attacked him personally, as well as the other board members, and Kesinger put himself in a precarious position by corresponding.

“He spoke counter to the board’s finding,” Wadlington said.

Wadlington added that it would have been more appropriate if Kesinger had told Newman that the board would be happy to look at evidence substantiating the claim.

Concerned about the board’s role in regards to the law, Wadlington took the matter to RMWD’s legal counsel, which led to the resolution.

The resolution, he said, puts Kesinger on public notice that similar actions could lead to legal actions.

“It removes the board from any legal responsibility to defend Director Kesinger from anything that goes forward from this matter,” said Wadlington.

The resolution states that Kesinger is authorized to represent or speak on behalf of the district only on positions, issues, or matters that have been adopted by a majority of the board; the board president is authorized to give notification that Kesinger has no authority except when sitting as a board member at a lawful session; and the board president will monitor his conduct.

Kesinger, who was the lone vote against the resolution, told the Sentinel he will comment at a later date.

Related posts:

  1. RMWD customer says high water bill due to faulty meter
  2. Director presses for water district redistricting options
  3. Redistricting proposal receives initial nod from water board
  4. Finley retires after 25 years with water district
  5. Water district directors forsake free health benefits

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on May 23 2012. Filed under Government, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Comments for “Water board censures one of its members”

  1. Guest

    Since when did the RMWD start being concerned with THE LAW?? Their blatant gifts of public funds of 1 million gallons per year to the Ramona Air Attack Base? "Undocumented Sewer EDUs" receiving free sewer service? GM waiving standby fees for a local grower that everyone else has to pay for? Free use of public land to a rancher on Rangeland Road? Waiving $500,000 in connection fees for the San Vicente Inn that everyone else has to pay? Selling recycled water below the operating costs that the public then gets to pay for? Setting rates and fees with absolutely no basis? You should be ashamed of your disservice to this community, your cronnyism, and your illegal practices. Maybe Director Kissenger's statements in emails were the truth and the truth just happens to hurt.

  2. Guest

    Don't forget the former GM awarding contracts to family members to maintain the park and rodeo grounds.

  3. Guest #2

    Grasping at straws aren't we Phillip.

  4. Guest

    It's not Phillip, but It's all public information for anyone to ask for.

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