Measure U Oversight Committee selection process squeaks past Brown Act requirements

O■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
n Jan 31, the Hemet City Council conducted interviews at the Hemet Library for the Measure U Oversight Committee. More than 30 people applied for the seven available committee positions. Interviews took place on the second floor of the Hemet Library in the Naawichum Pomki Room. The doors were shut and all candidates waited outside the room for their turn to interview. Originally, the interviews were going to be conducted with all applicants interviewing in front of all four remaining council members at the same time.
Councilman K. Paul Raver, a staunch advocate of public safety and local control, resigned in December, leaving the remaining council members to appoint his replacement by Feb. 10. Rob Davis, an oversight committee applicant stated, “All I want to do is make sure all funds are spent on public safety as the city promised they would be.”
Two panels interviewed all Measure U Oversight Committee applicants. One panel consisted of Councilwoman Bonnie Wright and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful. The other panel was comprised of Mayor Linda Krupa and Councilwoman Karlee Meyer.
The Brown Act apparently did not apply because although the council members were in the same room, they were not conferring amongst themselves. The pool of applicants was broken down into pairs, with two applicants entering the Naawichum Pomki room to interview at a time. According to multiple applicants, each panel asked three pre-selected questions. One of those questions (or variation of) was: “Do you agree with the action plan set forth by both our Police Chief and Fire Chief?”
The City Council has already allocated more than 20 percent of the anticipated annual general tax funds even before the oversight committee was selected. Is that what was promised?
Again, I support public safety. Their job consists of seeing the worst parts of humanity, as well as observing people in their most vulnerable state. They still show up to do their job, every day.
Measure U should be implemented with the integrity that the citizens and the men and women of our police and fire departments deserve and were promised. As local business owner John Bettencourt told me as he came out of the interview, “I’m just eager to serve our community.”
The Keep Hemet Safe – Yes on Measure U committee endorsed 2016 Hemet City Council candidates Perciful, Meyer and Wright, who all won their council seats. Should members from Keep Hemet Safe, which poured money into the Yes on U campaign, be allowed to serve on the oversight committee or will those members serve as a rubber stamp to stack the deck against fiscal responsibility?

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