Hemet City Council selects Community Pantry Director Jim Lineberger
■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor
After Robert Davis Jr.’s resignation from the Measure U Citizen Oversight Committee last month, the city of Hemet immediately let the public know about the unscheduled vacancy. Davis resigned due to potential conflicts of interest following his appointment to the Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) Governing Board.
Community Pantry Director Jim Lineberger received the most votes from council at the Oct. 24 meeting and will fill the position for the remainder of the term, which ends in 2019.
The city of Hemet placed an advertisement in the Press Enterprise advertising the Measure U Citizen Oversight Committee vacancy and took applications until Tuesday, Oct. 10. Applicants have to either live in the city of Hemet or the “sphere of influence.”
All four Measure U Citizen Oversight Committee applicants were interviewed during the regular session of the Hemet City Council Meeting. The applicants were all asked the same four questions by the City Council.
1. Tell us something about yourself.
2. What do you know about Resolution 4731 and Measure U?
3. Do you know what the appointment entails?
4. What assets do you have to bring to the committee?
Resolution 4731 is the city’s reaffirmation of the original Resolution 4703 after new council members were elected in 2016.
Resolution 4731 states, “the City Council of the City of Hemet adopted Resolution No. 4703 on Aug. 23, 2016 at a Regular meeting of the City Council thereby pleading to expend all proceeds of the Measure “U” general transaction and use tax for enhancement of Public Safety Services within the City of Hemet as provided therein.”
The four applicants were Ellwyn Hughes (Hemet), Don Kritzer (Hemet), Jim Lineberger (Hemet), Bruce Wallis (Sphere of Influence).
In Lineberger’s interview, he told council that he moved to Hemet in 2005 and has been a resident for 12 years. In 2011, he was elected to be the director of the Community Pantry under his protest.
“I am here to see how I can help out the city,” Lineberger told council. “I have compassion for the city and experience with what’s happening in our city with threats and running Pantry.”
“I am friends with everyone of you [council] and if not selected, we will still be friends,” stated Lineberger during his interview.
When asked about Resolution 4731, Lineberger stated, “when it comes to that, I do not know.” Lineberger was not the only applicant that was unaware of the contents of Resolution 4731.
“I was an advocate of Measure E and have been an advocate for local fire and PD. I would have to research that [Resolution 4731].”
“If Measure U doesn’t work, I don’t think this city is going to survive,” stated Lineberger toward the end of his interview.
The Measure U Citizen Oversight Committee is an advisory committee that reviews expenditures made for the 1 percent sales tax and makes recommendations to the Hemet City Council. The committee is unable to take any action on exactly how funds are spent.
All four applicants, according to Hemet City Clerk Sarah McComas, were invited to attend the last Measure U Citizen Oversight Committee meeting on Oct. 16. Between April to June 2017, the city of Hemet estimated that it would receive $2,239,000 for that quarter. On Sept. 27, the city received $2,449,000, but was charged an administration fee of $7,000 by the state of California. The city received $2,442,000.
Davis was appointed to the board after his partner, Joe Wojcik, of the law firm Davis Wojcik Duarte, a Professional Law Corporation, moved out of the district boundaries, leaving the Trustee seat vacant. Davis applied to fill the vacancy and was appointed, but not unanimously.
Davis resigned from the Measure U Citizen Oversight committee shortly after.