Tulare Public Cemetery District (TPCD) will be holding its regular meeting tomorrow at 9:15 and several members of the public have expressed a desire to attend and address the board.
According to Tulare County Public Information Officer Tammie Weyker-Adkins, there was a request from the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to reach out to the TPCD to either conduct the meeting by Zoom or, at the very minimum, stream the meeting on facebook. Members of the public wanting to address the board didn’t believe they should have to risk their lives to do their civic duty in a time when Tulare County is experiencing a spike in coronoavirus .
In response, Tulare Public Cemetery Board member Xavier Avila said, “There will be no remote access.”
It is also unclear how many people will be allowed to attend the meeting as a limit of 6 members of the public had been suggested but not confirmed. In light of the situation, there has been a request that anyone planning on attending please stream the meeting.
Controversy over how the district has been conducting graveside services during the pandemic and if there has been preferential treatment is anticipated to be discussed. In late March the Martin Family was not allowed to carry their loved one to the grave site or get out of their cars for the service. This was allegedly in stark contrast to other services held during the same time frame at the cemetery.
In addition Trustee Vicki Gilson addressed the Tulare County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning about her concerns regarding the cemetery. She expressed doubts about the administration of the Endowment Care Fund, the proposed FY 20/21 budget plans spending of $250,000 for new Buildings and Improvements , the Revolving Fund being operated in violation of Health and Safety and Government Codes, and CalPers Retirement.
Gilson said that a letter of Material Weakness and Non- Compliance concerning the boards management of CalPers was issued by the District’s annual auditor covering his audit of FY 2018/19, dated 4/20/20, noting that there were no employee withholding during FY 2018/19 and recommended deducting employee contributions going forward. This was based upon the Pension Reform Act of 2017 said Gilson. Three members of the Board decided to withhold only for new employees hired after 7/1/2020.
She ended her comments to the supervisors with “The liability is building – the Board majority is not complying with law and guidelines – making their own rules.”
There are currently two anticipated lawsuits facing the district.
Gilson is recommending that the Board remove all five Trustees of the Tulare Public Cemetery Board. She said that there is precedent for this: in the 1990’s, the entire Board of Trustees was removed from the Visalia Cemetery.
About a week ago Gilson requested that the following items be added to the agenda for the June 25th meeting.
“Please schedule the following items for this week’s Regular Board meeting:
1) Discussion of Proposed Budget for FY 20/21 re: Salary and Benefits and Use if Restricted Funds
2) Vote of No Confidence in Chair and Vice Chair Positions”
She received no response and her requested items were not put on the agenda.