Chino Valley Fire District board members will discuss in closed session Wednesday the details of a letter from the son of board member Winn Williams demanding the district “cease and desist” from practices he claims violate the Brown Act open meeting law.
The closed session meeting will take place after the board’s regular-scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. at 14011 City Center Drive, Chino Hills. The regular meeting is open to the public.
Kyle Williams of Chino Hills, the adult son of the twice-censured board member, claims in his Sept. 25 letter to board president John DeMonaco that Mr. DeMonaco and three board members exchanged information and acted without public notice, basing his allegation on a Dec. 26 email from Chief Tim Shackelford.
The chief's email to board members stated Winn Williams had a negative interaction with the clerk of the board a few days earlier when he asked her to make two copies of paperwork pertaining to his 17-year retirement dispute with the fire district. Winn Williams was not a recipient of the email, which was later presented during a board meeting.
The clerk informed Winn Williams that using district equipment for personal use was against state law and board policy. He claims the copies were needed for a fire board consultant.
Chief Shackelford had the district’s lawyer Jeff Ballinger write a letter to Winn Williams stating that using district equipment for personal use was prohibited and it was not fair to put the clerk in the position of violating board policy and state law.
Winn Williams claimed Mr. DeMonaco directed Mr. Ballinger to write the letter which Kyle Williams said violates board policy and state law because it was done “unilaterally and without approval of the majority of the board.”
“He has no authority to individually act as judge and jury and conclude that another board member has committed a violation,” Winn Williams said.
In the Dec. 26 email to board members, Chief Shackelford wrote “as I anticipate Director Williams bringing this issue up with you, either privately or at the upcoming board meeting, I feel that is important that you be aware of what occurred. I shared information about the situation with President DeMonaco, and at his request, engaged legal counsel. The attached letter to Director Williams from Mr. Ballinger covers the important details of what took place and why it is problematic.”
In the email, Chief Shackelford reminded the four fire board members not to share their opinion of the situation with each other “as there may be a need for ‘board action’ related to this at some point in the future.”
Mr. DeMonaco and board members Harvey Luth, Sarah Evinger-Ramos and Mike Kreeger denied Winn Williams’ allegations that they violated the Brown Act during the board’s April 10 meeting.
“The allegations were baseless and had no foundation. There were no serial meetings,” Mr. DeMonaco told Winn Williams.
Mrs. Evinger-Ramos said she has been on the board for eight years and there was not a time when board members got together to discuss anything prior to meetings.
“The board knows the Brown Act and how to conduct business to be as transparent as possible,” she said.
In his Sept. 25 letter, Kyle Williams gave the district until Oct. 25 to provide him with an “unconditional commitment to cease, desist from, and not repeat the practices” on his claims of Brown Act violations.
He said if the district fails to do so, he could file an injunction or ask for declaratory relief to stop the violations.
“This allegation has already been addressed by legal counsel in great detail in open session,” Chief Shackelford said Monday. “As there is a threat of new litigation, it will be addressed by the board of directors in closed session.”