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Wednesday, Jan 08 2014 06:00 AM

Bear Valley Springs CSD board member resigns

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Al Romano has resigned from the Board of Directors of Bear Valley Community Services District.

Bear Valley Springs Community Services District board member Al Romano tendered his resignation on Jan. 2, to be effective immediately.

Romano said he did not want to elaborate beyond what was written in his very brief letter of resignation to General Manager Jeff Hodge, which states he is leaving because of health reasons.

"I wish to thank the CSD staff for all their support and efforts during the past eight years in which I have served," he wrote. "It has been a pleasure working with all of you and I wish you the best in the future."

Romano, who served on the board for two terms, is the fifth person recently vacating a leadership position with the CSD, including General Manager Jeff Hodge, Finance Director Rudy Hernandez, Legal Counsel Kristin Hagan, and Assistant General Manager Sandy Janzen, who all filed resignations in December of last year.

Director Bonnie Shea resigned last September.

According to multiple members of the district's management team, the Kern County District Attorney's office has launched an investigation regarding certain board activities.

The DA's office has not returned calls requesting confirmation of such an investigation. However, the Kern County Grand Jury released a five-page report on Thursday, May 22, 2013, taking the Bear Valley Community Services District governing board to task for issues including potential violations of the Brown Act, complaints of harassment by a board member and overcharging for police dispatch services.

Romano said he did not want to speak further on his resignation out of concern of hindering any investigations.

The board has 60 days to fill Romano's position, which can be done three different ways, according to President Bill Mason. According to Senate Bill 135, the CSD is required to have five board members at all times.

"We can ask for volunteers to step forward, and one would be selected by the board by vote. Or we could hold a special election, which would cost $10,000 to $15,000," Mason said.

If the board does not select a new board member within 60 days, the decision would be up to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

In October 2013 the board appointed Gil Grace to fill the vacancy left when Shea resigned.

The CSD's next board meeting is Jan. 9 at 4 p.m. It will be held at district headquarters, 28999 South Lower Valley Road in Bear Valley Springs.

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