Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Allegations are false

EDITOR:

The allegations against Chief Bruce Lacher are false.

On April 5, 2013, the Mountain Democrat published on its front page a negative article about Fire Chief Bruce Lacher. The allegations against Chief Lacher stemmed from disgruntled firefighter union leaders and from other disgruntled employees. The union leaders were unhappy because cuts in their benefits would have to be made due to declining property tax revenues. All of the allegations were investigated and found not to warrant the charges made.

Investigations into the allegations were made by the district attorney, the county auditor, the district accountant and an independent insurance investigator. These investigations showed that there were no problems to warrant the allegations made.

Conflict of interest in fire district: The source of some of the allegations made against Chief Lacher was from Michael Dennis. Michael Dennis was recently an unelected, temporary member of the Board of Directors for EDC Fire District. At the same time, his son was an officer in the Firefighters Union. When a father is in a position to influence the salary and benefits of his son, it creates a bias favoring the son and his union. In this situation, there is a tendency of the biased board member to influence the decisions of the board to favor the union in its attempts to gain financially in spite of revenue shortfalls. This unethical process is to the detriment of the district, its leaders and the people it serves. Michael Dennis lost his seat on the board in the last election so this conflict of interest no longer exists.

The attacks on Chief Lacher were made because those making the accusations realized that reductions in the generous benefits of the firefighters were going to be made in order to balance the budget and that the chief would take actions to make the reductions. The firefighters would now have to pay a share of the retirement and health benefits. The attacks on the chief were an attempt to block the chief in making the necessary changes.

CURTIS E. WEIDMER, MD, MPH
Former Director of El Dorado County Health Services and County Health Officer (1974 – 1994)
Former Member of Board of Directors, El Dorado County Fire Protection District (1998 – 2010)

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 20 comments

  • WilsonApril 09, 2013 - 9:21 pm

    Curtis Weidmer, your ignorance is laughable! Yo blame the unions and the firefighters? You believe their pay is part of the reason for the $1.6 million deficit? Since you were on the board for 12 years I think it's simple enough to blame YOU!! I don't think any of the union firefighters make $180,000/yr with deferred compensation paid monthly...but you signed a contract where Lacher does. If the housing market was at fault, how could you sign such a generous contract to the chiefs when you knew the revenue was down? Better yet, when you noticed the revenues where not meeting the expenditures, how could you not cut back on spending or increase on revenue ventures? And all this while increasing a Chiefs pay with a 5 yr contract at 30%. You said this started because Lacher asked for cuts...since you were off the board at that point it sounds like you're gullible to what Lacher told you. STOP DRINKING THE KOOL AID!! Answer me this Mr. Weidmer; how can a chief with such integrity try and go out on work comp stress when he is paid $180,000/yr to manage the fiscal state of a dept. only when he notices the $1.6 million deficit? It was his job! He failed! So now he's stressed and should get tax free retirement? Integrity?? Again, your ignorance is laughable!! By the way: doesn't Mark Johnson have a son in the union. As far as I know, they both recuse themselves when it comes to contracts and negotiations. Your letters still have not shown that these FACTS are false. The districts new CPA and the new Board said that "the person in charge was asleep at the wheel." It's in the latest board minutes...read it!!

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  • Stephanie H.April 09, 2013 - 11:30 pm

    I have read the majority, if not all of the recent articles surrounding Bruce Lacher and the Fire Dept. In the reading and the comments I see a common thread; the board never stood up to him and just agreed/ignored what was going on. This letter appears to defend Lacher. Maybe because the author is guilty as well...since he was on the board. Hmmmm. See folks, these are the problems with the corruption when large amounts of money is involved. People covering each others back. This author, Weidmer, can not find Lacher guilty because then he would be guilty as well. Keep this in mind!

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  • MorrisApril 10, 2013 - 1:43 am

    Dr. Weidmer, the mistake here is in extending The Mountain Democrat credibility as 'publishing' anything of integrity beyond current lake levels and the most recent Who's Who in EDC DUI 's. It is, simply, the Pennysaver with 49 cents taped to the front. One doesn't even need to remove any sections to find a perfectly sized replacement to yesterday's cat box liner. Certainly some may disagree (I, for one, find the Mountain Democrat better served cleaning the RV's black water hoses; for example) but by and by one only needs to look to the Auburn Journal for any comparison as to which better serves the foothills in circulation, professionalism and number of foothill-specific stories seeing coverage. Personally, I love the Mountain Democrat in the same manner in which I do 'The National Enquirer'; reading material while waiting in line at the grocery store. One would never seriously pay for either, but the ink stains are - indeed - worth the five minute commitment to entertainment. I especially love any 'reporting'' that opens with something like 'The Georgetown Hoopachew Association FINALLY met this week to discuss the latest mismanaged cat flossing station replacement bids' vs the more objective 'Met this week to discuss public feedback and the resolutions being presented as solution for the....' And while I know nothing of the issues in this particularly 'story', I smelled a hose job within the first few lines of purple prose. (Locally: 'dawn prose') The reference to a shift in accounting standards was particularly amusing in its complete absence of details in how the standard read pre and post shift. GAAP does change and change in step it will with those rules set forth by the federal government. FASB anyone? One shift to accruals, how earnings are taken or, in this instance, how long term obligations are represented can magically change black to red or red to black just by the flip of a new standard upon the GL. Nothing really changed between 11:59 PM one day and 12:01 the other. But ledger balances sure can. To insinuate anyone is somehow to blame for red ink on this point alone is just dirty and cheap. The ultimate joke however was only told to us by The MD this time; quite the departure from telling us our opinion within the first paragraph. The punch line of this latest joke however is in how the 'Board wasn't told of the decrease in property tax revenues and therefore unaware of these decreases and resulting budgetary impact. (sic) Now THAT was worth the Cheer Wine and Copenhagen flying out of my nose (Quite uncomfortable, btw but I had the paper to sweep up so no harm/foul) Really?? A group of El Dorado Hills upper middle class to affluent residents within a largely white collar professional community demographic serving as professional board members (as de facto fiduciaries no less) had somehow missed this, ummm, recent event? Wow. And then resort to blamestorming as cover for not being aware! Oh. Wait. Perhaps they get their news from The Mountain Democrat. Never-mind.

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  • SamApril 10, 2013 - 6:51 am

    Anytime someone has to put their credentials at the botton of a letter to validate it is suspect. Dodson is a seasoned journalist and I doubt she would simply take the word of a few people on such an importand story. Sure the recession, now in its fifth year, is a factor but only an idiot would pretend it never happened...the district ignored the declining projections from the county tax collector...it's that simple. Weidmer has done no research plus he's board member Johnson's cronie who also happens to have a son on the force. Placerville started cuts five years ago and so did many other cities and districts...only an ostrich could not have seen this coming. Dont forget about the 600k Lacher used from a retiree benefit trust in a feeble attempt to avoit his mess. That's what's unbelieveable!

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  • 1036-FrankApril 10, 2013 - 10:41 am

    First thing to do is hire an independent from the district and county auditor and investigator to review the case or a state or federal GJ to take testimony and review. Local elected people can't get involved for conflict of interest and fear of political fallout and shaking up local Gob's. Part of having a network of Gob's in any organization is the ability to cover for and smoke screen and attack anyone who points out the facts when something is exposed. So far there are attacks on the reporter for having the nerve to report the facts and employees by some of the involved which are as suspect as a sudden case of "Chief's Disease" about the time the shortfall is discovered and the dreaded auditor or reporter or investigator is seen. Should be called sudden "Auditor-Itis" onset and any sudden "Chief" retirements and sudden claimed "injuries" that result confirm the suspicions, there is more work to do here to shake this carpet and see what is under it, exposing it is a good start.

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  • cookie65April 24, 2013 - 8:45 am

    Wow, is there some municipality in America where the public sector has not begun to turn on each other, since they have run out of other peoples money? Your letter is useful in the fact that it illustrates how we got here. You list your credentials as being a long time ranking member of county government and you were blindsided by what many of us knew was coming a decade ago. Thanks for educating the masses as to how the ruling class is solely responsible for the unsustainable contracts and benny's. The public sector bubble will burst and it will be very ugly.

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  • Ken SteersApril 24, 2013 - 3:13 pm

    Cookie, It has and is

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  • Compass2TruthApril 24, 2013 - 8:08 pm

    Morris: Kudos for saying it like it really is, especially pertaining to the credibility of the Mtn. Demo and Trash Journalism. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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  • Compass2TruthApril 24, 2013 - 8:24 pm

    1036-Frank: You hit the nail on the head!!! If you want some real juicy NEWS complete with names, dates and factual documentation, refer to Item #23 of the 4/9/13 BOS meeting: http://eldorado.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=181 Watch the video for the highlights but the 18-pages of documentation will really grab your attention as to how the GOBs operate in EDC. Is it any wonder Publisher Esposito or the BOS are pleading the 5th and refusing to respond???

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  • EvelynApril 25, 2013 - 7:06 am

    Compass: Checking out the documentation you referred to above - HERE - I found (bottom pg.13) your mention of a plan to "implement a whitewater park in Lotus which will turn the Quiet Zone of the American River into a virtual Disneyland on steroids." (1) Has there been any public discussion about this? (2) Who are the "stakeholders"? (3) Is CEDAC involved?

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  • EvelynApril 25, 2013 - 9:44 am

    Compass: Item 9.7 (pdf pg 28 - HERE) reports "The American River Conservancy received a grant to purchase 30 acres connecting Henningsen Lotus County Park and Marshall Gold Discovery State Park." Will this form part of the whitewater park in question?

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  • Compass2TruthApril 25, 2013 - 10:41 am

    Evelyn: The Henningson-Lotus Whitewater Park was a subject that was presented during a RMAC meeting. Per Howard Penn of the CofC, deceptive language was deliberately used to cloak these plans so the public would be kept in the dark & therefore UNABLE to voice their concerns & objections. I wasn't present at that particular meeting so the speakers were very candid in their remarks, not to mention in violation of the Brown Act. Thanks to a friend, I was alerted to obtain a copy of the RMAC audio from the CAO. Wow, it was extremely revealing. However the RMAC minutes mention absolutely NOTHING about the details I included in my partial transcript of that meeting. These types of meetings are going on regularly throughout the county. CEDAC is definitely involved. CEDAC is a major driving force infringing upon our rural lifestyle, private property rights and home values of residents along the American River Corridor. The stakeholders include the Chamber of Commerce, rafters, campgrounds, businesses, CA State Parks, government agencies and UNACCOUNTABLE NGOs, many of which aren't even local. It appears the BOS, CAO & Department Heads can't see the forest for the trees. Whether out of GOB malice or simple ignorance, they've imbibed the toxic Kool Aide that paves the highway to the Next Economy-Sustainable Development. Citizens need to identify the GOBs and TAKE ACTION by holding their feet to the fire and demanding transparency & accountability.

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  • Compass2TruthApril 25, 2013 - 10:59 am

    Evelyn: YES - the 30 acres acquired by ARC is part of the obfuscated plans for the HL Whitewater Park mentioned in the 2012 River Management Plan which is a major component of the EDC General Plan & CEDAC. Compass2Truth recently requested the BOS and Planning Commission to carefully examine the deliberate manipulation by Environmental Mgt. of data and other irregularities contained in Draft RMP. It should also be noted that a formal request for investigation into illicit RMAC activities was denied by the 2011 Grand Jury because it would expose specific elected officials and other GOBs to significant litigation at taxpayers expense. That was not the end, but only the beginning of the exposure of this many-headed Hydra. Many heads will roll.

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  • EvelynApril 25, 2013 - 11:03 am

    Compass: Thank you. As for transparency & accountability, it is my glum opinion that, given the reigning governmental structure, the best we can hope for is a few microscopically small pin-pricks of light.

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  • EvelynApril 25, 2013 - 11:07 am

    You are saying the Grand Jury wouldn't touch anything that would endanger systemic corruption? Isn't that an indictment on the EDC Grand Jury system itself? Who is in charge of this charade?

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  • MelodyApril 25, 2013 - 11:14 am

    1036 Frank is spot on target concerning the GOB network of CYA smokescreens. As Morris indicated, this also extends to the Mtn. Demo staff as exposed in the 4/9 BOS Bully Tactics documentation. Diligence in rooting out the TRUTH of these matters and demanding ACCOUNTABILITY of our public servants is the first step in taking back our county and restoring our Constitutional liberties.

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  • Compass2TruthApril 25, 2013 - 11:32 am

    Evelyn: Don't forget the scandal behind the recent disbandment of the EDC Grand Jury. It is a chaotic mess. The recommendations made by the Asst. CAO (who is under an Amador County GJ investigation) concerning the recent EDC restructure approved by the BOS only proves that our elected representatives have their heads up their posteriors. The entire SYSTEM--including the GJ--is corrupt. It is WE THE PEOPLE who are responsible for allowing this charade to continue. The solution remains in the hands of Almighty God and the conscientious citizens He uses to reestablish a moral compass of truth and justice in our own back yards.

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  • EvelynApril 25, 2013 - 12:42 pm

    Concerning the Amador County GJ investigation: Yesterday's BOS meeting. Video HERE. Go to 00:48:35. (Only about 2 minutes)

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  • Compass2TruthApril 26, 2013 - 12:05 am

    Evelyn: Thanks for pointing out Ione resident John Scully's FOIA Request for Public Information concerning the the Grand Jury investigation into Assistant CAO Kim Kerr. I wanted to hug that man for his succinct presentation and presence at the BOS. Many of us have expressed the same concerns about the City of Ione history repeating itself here in EDC. The BOS is accountable to US. Keep holding their feet to the fire until the BOS does what it should have done in the first place.

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  • Phil VeerkampApril 26, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    How does one go about filing a FOIA Request for Compass2Truth? Is it true that Compass2Truth? = Melody Lane? Let me guess. The membership of Compass2Truth? is confidential in order to protect members from "retaliation". Melody Lane is the crusading spokesperson. Melody does not like Kim.

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