Repeated absences prompt request for Ramona director to resign
By Karen Brainard
Having missed his seventh consecutive meeting of the Ramona Municipal Water District Board on Tuesday, Director Kit Kesinger will be asked to voluntarily resign by the other four board members.
Kesinger is director of RMWD’s Division II on the west side of town.
The directors agreed that board President Darrell Beck should draft a letter of reprimand, request voluntary resignation and give Kesinger a time period in which to respond. The board plans to review the draft letter at its Aug. 27 meeting.
“It would be nice if he resigned, but I don’t know that we can force him to resign,” said Director Joe Zenovic.
With advice from RMWD Legal Counsel Brooke Miller of Best Best & Krieger, the directors weighed the their options.
Although Municipal Water District Law and the district’s Legislative Code do not set a maximum number of absences, California Government Code section 1770(g) states that a vacancy is created in an office when an officer ceases to discharge the duties of his office for a period of three consecutive months. However, Miller noted that a vacancy is only created where the officer voluntarily or willfully ceases to discharge the duties of his office. If he is prevented from performing those duties, a vacancy will not occur.
Kesinger has been absent from board meetings for over 90 days.
According to Miller, if a vacancy occurs, the board can fill the position by appointment or by calling an election. Board members agreed an election would be too costly. To fill by appointment, the board must do so within 60 days of the date notified of the vacancy; otherwise the county board of supervisors may appoint a person or order the district to call an election.
When Kesinger responded to a Sentinel inquiry about his absence after board discussion July 23, he stated in an email that Zenovic and Beck had changed the meeting time from 4:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. so he would not be able to attend.
Kesinger, who works as a quality manager for Decco Castings in El Cajon, was elected to a four-year term in November 2010 when the meeting time was 4:30. In June 2012, the board voted, minus Kesinger who was absent, to change the time to 2 p.m.
The meeting time was revisited on Jan. 8, when the board voted 3-2 to retain the 2 p.m. slot, despite Kesinger’s opposition, saying it was difficult for him, as well as citizens who work, to attend. Director Rex Schildhouse joined Kesinger in that vote. Other board members pointed to a survey that showed most water agencies meet during the day, and a benefit is that district staff does not accrue overtime by attending meetings after work hours.
“If you’re a director on the board of directors, you come during normal business hours,” Zenovic said Aug. 13.
Director George Foote noted that if Kesinger was elected when the meeting was at 4:30, the time change could prevent him from attending.
Zenovic said Kesinger has not called any ad hoc committee meetings or communicated with the board or general manager.
“He’s got a pile of agenda memos a mile high,” he said.
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