UPDATED: Three Resign from Tulare Cemetery Board

Alberto Aguilar was sworn in Tuesday to a position on the Tulare Public Cemetery District’s board. Brendon Alexander/Valley Voice

Tulare Public Cemetery District will soon have a brand new board. Long-time board member Patricia Colson submitted her letter of resignation on September 8 and Phil Vandegrift reportedly handed in his resignation to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on September 11.

Antonia Chavez resigned a few days after the contentious July 12 board meeting.

“When you do something you should enjoy it. But Caring Cause and the two new board members are the most disrespectful people I have ever met.”

Chavez also complained that new board member, Vicki Gilson, “crucified me on Caring Cause Facebook” after she missed the August 9 board meeting. Though Chavez had already resigned, her intention was to publicly announce her resignation at the meeting so it could be posted.

Caring Cause, Gilson and Deal have complained about the district office not announcing when board members resign, allegedly to give them time to recruit their friends. Chavez said that the office manager cannot announce a resignation until the trustee officially resigns at a board meeting or the office gets an official letter from the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.

The day before the August 9 meeting Chavez had an accident at Marshalls and sprained her ankle. She had an early doctor’s appointment and was going to come late to the board meeting to make her announcement. But her husband, who did attend the meeting, called her and said don’t bother because it was canceled.

“If Vicki hadn’t been so vicious and crucified me I would have explained to her what happened if she had just called me.”

Colson and Gilson were the only two in attendance so the meeting was canceled due to a lack of quorum.

Deal informed the board at the last meeting that he would be out of state in the beginning of August and would miss that meeting. Vandegrift did not give a reason for missing the August 9 meeting but it is suspected by Gilson and Deal that he did not want to hear the complaints from the public as happened at the July 12 meeting. It was anticipated by Gilson and Deal that the August 9 meeting was going to be very well attended.

Receipt of official paperwork on Vandegrift’s resignation has not been confirmed. Gilson and Deal went to Vandegrift’s house on the morning of Tuesday, September 12 to notify him that they were calling a special board meeting to deal with maintenance issues.

Vandegrft allegedly said that he did not need the letter because he had resigned the day before and had already talked to Tulare County Supervisor Pete Vander Poel.

Gilson spoke to Vander Poel the evening of the 12th after the supervisor’s meeting held in Woodlake. Vander Poel said that he had heard nothing concerning Vandegrift’s resignation. According to Gilson, currently no letter of resignation has been filed at the clerk’s office at the board of supervisors.

Vander Poel is the Tulare County Supervisor in charge of accepting resignations, applications, and appointing trustees to the Tulare Public Cemetery Board.

Alberto Aguilar was appointed to Chavez’ seat during the Tulare County Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tuesday, September 19. He was sworn in after the supervisor’s meeting so that the cemetery board could have a quorum and get some overdue business done.

The Tulare Public Cemetery Board meeting will be September 20 after press time.

Besides many other pressing issues, the board will address grounds maintenance since Perfect Care Landscape Maintenance gave their final notice at the end of August.

Colson’s resignation has been handed into the Board of Supervisors and applications are on file of those who wish to be appointed.  Carlene Ringius submitted her application at the beginning of the year when former Trustee Robert Moore resigned, and she is expected to be the next appointee to the cemetery board.

6 thoughts on “UPDATED: Three Resign from Tulare Cemetery Board

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  1. I don’t know anything about “Caring Cause Facebook” because I don’t follow Facebook…..don’t like it much. That said I also don’t know anything about Gilson or Deal. I don’t know if they are overly aggressive or not when it comes to pushing their agendas but I do know that if they are smart they will listen and learn from Alberto Aguilar…..he is one of this city’s foremost statesmen, always on top of the facts and presents facts and ideas intelligently in a respectful and poised manner.

  2. I have many family members at rest at the Tulare Cemetery and I am very grateful to the Valley Voice for addressing the deterioration of the cemetery. I was very bothered by the state of neglect it has become. I have over 20 family members at rest there and own plots for my patents also.I feel Mr. Aguilar well represent the citizens well on the board as will the makeup of the new board. Thank you Valley Voice for your professional journalism.

  3. I don’t know any of the board members. One thing I do know is that all it takes to “crucify” somebody responsible for the upkeep of the grounds where Tulare residents are laid to rest is pictures. Pictures taken in September 2017 and every month prior that I have went to grieve the loss of my dad in March 2016. That’s a year and a half. I think that’s more than enough time to get it together! I grew up in Tulare. I brag about Tulare. I’ve never been ashamed of Tulare, until now. Please make me proud again and show some respect for our loved ones. That’s all I ask.

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