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.

RMWD Director Rex Schildhouse, right, talks about the board’s options regarding Director Kit Kesinger, who has missed seven consecutive meetings. Kesinger’s empty seat is between Schildhouse and Director George Foote. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

“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.

Related posts:

  1. RMWD director’s meeting absence draws board criticism
  2. Director questions compensation
  3. Director suggests board suspend medical benefits
  4. Water board elects 2013 officers, retains 2 p.m. meeting time
  5. Director presses for water district redistricting options

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Posted by Staff on Aug 16 2013. Filed under Featured Story, Government, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

10 Comments for “Repeated absences prompt request for Ramona director to resign”

  1. Stay with it

    Shane on the RMWD board for engineering this. This isn’t about convenience for staffers; it’s an attempt to stifle the underdog who questions the back room deals and actions that benefit a few in Ramona. Why is it that the community that has to deal with exorbitant hookup fees and sweetheart deals for others thinks the water board is corrupt? One wonders. Move the meetings back to 4:30 and prove you aren’t a corrupt bunch of people.

  2. Don Kedick

    With all the important issues on the RMWD agenda, a 2 pm meeting time is ridiculous. By the time this club wakes up and finishes lunch they're ready for a nap at that time. And no one who is paying the water districts bills can make a meeting at that time… we're all working!!! The meetings should be at 7 pm. The RMWD is clearly in need of having the light of truth shown upon them.

  3. Concerned Resident

    Like Mr. Kedick says, those of us who pay the bills are WORKING at 2 pm. What does the RMWD have to hide? Could it be the fact that our rates are the highest in the county? Could it be that light might be shed on the outrageous compensation package the General Manager and staff receive from the District, all at ratepayer expense? Could it be that we will discover that we are being gouged by the District? I'm tired of it. I use half the water and my bill is half again as much as it was only five years ago. Only 2 options here – incompetence or corruption. Move the meetings to 7 pm so the ratepayers can determine for themselves. What are you afraid of?

  4. Dawn

    The meetings should be moved to a time when Kit Kessinger (and the public) can attend. The meetings are held during hours when regular people are at work. We cannot all be professional community volunteers. The odd meeting time also discourages some of our town's best people from running because they cannot be away from their paid jobs. These elected positions should not be one's career, working folks should have the opportunity to participate.

  5. guest

    There is always an inconvenient time for SOMEONE. I think that there are many people who would come during the daylight hours.

    • guest

      Sorry to disagree. Attendance, from what I understand, is dismal at best. Move the meetings to at least 7 p.m. Maybe attendance would rise, but at the least all Directors would be able to attend. 2 p.m.????? That makes absolutley no sense – it is also not worth the cents cited as a reason.

      Those are my two sense and two cents worth.

    • Guest

      Exactly. Been to many of these meetings and its always the same amount of people showing up no matter what time, be it at 7:30 pm or 4pm like they used to be. Somebody always complained about the time. If found it interesting to go look at other water districts board meeting times and they varied from 10am to 4pm.


    Some of the initial comments are hilarious and obviously written by Mr. Kesinger. I read an article on the Ramona Patch that did a very good job of reporting on this.

    Apparently, Mr. Kesinger was warned by the State of CA after he was elected last year, censured by other water boards and now he is no longer attending meetings.

    The time of the meeting is a convenient excuse. Can the Sentinel please confirm that meeting attendance is actually way up?

    Bottom line, being absent for 90 days is not okay and we should expect better in our town.

  7. Concerned Resident

    Please stop this nonsense! IF the Board truly represents those who elected them, they need to show us the respect of at least holding meetings at a time when the most constituents can attend. Most ratepayers work from 8:00-5:00 down the hill. Holding the meetings before 6:00 during the work week limits access to those most affected by the Board's decisions. If the public decides not to attend, then it is on us, but for the Board to make it more difficult for us to attend by holding the meetings at a time when most work, they do a disservice to those they claim to represent. The issue is that simple. Please stop insulting us by attempting to confuse the issue.

  8. MainStreet Media

    That it true, Dawn. When he was elected, the board met at 4:30 p.m.

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