For my readers: This posting is another in a long line of criticisms of the local newspaper, the Mt Echo, for their biased reporting on the Shasta County 'Local Area Formation Commission', LAFCO.
In your zeal to further damage former Executive Officer Jan Lopez’s reputation, while withholding relevant information from your readers, it is becoming painfully clear that you are in the tank for Shasta LAFCO. Additionally, either your blind, misinformed allegiance to this Commission or your self-inflicted ignorance as to the definition of a “Contract Employee”, you have indicted yourself of journalism malpractice.
First, LAFCO’s previous Executive Officer, Amy Mickelson, spent over eight years and about one million dollars of tax and ratepayer money producing about $90,000 in work product, so says another highly qualified LAFCO executive officer, over seven counties.
Second, during most if not all that time Commission counsel, Jim Underwood, sat next to her at the many annual meetings, failing to inform the Commission that they were in violation of State Law, for ‘not’ having completed mandated studies by 2008. Just one of many facts you have failed to report in context.
Third, when I and others filed suit against LAFCO for failure to follow the law, Jim Underwood did NOT recuse himself under conflict of interest, because it was He that was partially responsible for the lawsuit, as counsel to the Commission.
Fourth, after he lost the suit, he presented Shasta LAFCO with a bill of about $50k, for his services in that suit. A bill he held in abeyance, so that he could claim that Shasta LAFCO ended the year with a few hundred dollars in the bank. I believe this to not just be a failure to disclose, but fraud as well.
Fifth, and in an astounding display of ignorance, LAFCO appointed the incompetent, obscuring, obfuscating Commission counselor to be the interim, temporary Executive Officer, not unlike hiring the fox to watch the hen house. But it’s not over!
Sixth, as Commission counselor and temporary EO Mr. Underwood should have understood the legal definition of “Contractor” as opposed to “Employee”, which is spelled out in clear, concise English in California Law. Yes, he claims to be a lawyer, but I’ve seen no evidence of it yet.
Mrs. Lopez has every right to pursue her claim under California law. I have every belief LAFCO violated her conditions of contract and that LAFCOs E&O insurance should pay up. Let them explain to their client, Shasta LAFCO, what it means to violate the law. They might also send Commission counsel to LAFCO law school, to brush up on what LAFCO is and what is mandated to do.
In the meantime the Mt. Echo can either retract criticism of Mrs. Lopez or at least reveal all the information, not just what drives their headlines.
Terry Briggs---Fall River Mills