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CVAG supports Director, accepts $5 million grant for CV Link

Indian Wells Councilman asked for resignation

CVAG accepts $5 million grant for CV...

PALM DESERT, Calif. - UPDATE: Ty Peabody is a council member with the city of Indian Wells. On Monday, Peabody took to public comment at the Coachella Valley Association of Governments meeting asking for the termination of CVAG executive director Tom Kirk.

"This is not something that would be tolerated. I am on the Sunline board and the Sunline board is very well run, and there are members of that board that are on committees to control financial decisions and contract decisions," Peabody said.

Peabody said Kirk should be asked to leave for a number of reasons, see below, including Roy's of the Desert closing up shop.

"They promised to be financially solvent by 2017 they are not they are closing," Peabody said.

Peabody also sited the $24 million grant CVAG was supposed to receive from the state for the CV Link.

They didn’t get it, and as we have investigated and reported, some say it’s because the application included false information.

A point driven home by Rancho Mirage council member Dana Hobart who did a 30 minute presentation on that.

But CVAG members voted to accept a more than $5.584 million grant from the state, and in that vote, agree that the state has received letters from council member Hobart about his concerns, and the state has not acted on them. Rancho Mirage voted against this item and Indian Wells abstained.

When asked after the meeting, many members of CVAG said they supported the job Tom Kirk is doing. Kirk refused to comment.

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Indian Wells council member Ty Peabody called for the resignation of Tom Kirk, executive director of Coachella Valley Association of Governments-CVAG at CVAG meeting Monday afternoon.

Read: KESQ investigates new divides in CV Link

We are following breaking news out of today's executive meeting of the Coachella Valley Association of Governments known as CVAG.  Just moments ago Indian Wells Councilman Ty Peabody addressed the meeting calling for the resignation of Executive Tom Kirk.  He read a prepared statement... citing some major issues with the CV Link funding, Closing of Roy's Homeless Resource Center, and a lawsuit that was directed at his city Indian Wells. 

Read: I-Team investigates on CVAG's 24 million dollar mistake

Tom Kirk would not comment on the story at this time.

Read: Coachella Valley homeless crisis grows

Here is the prepared statement Councilman Peabody read at the meeting:

As a Councilmember of Indian Wells I feel frustrated and misled by the way CVAG is being managed.  Unlike Sunline this board is failing to provide oversight of our staff.  This failure extends to policies involving financial oversight, planning oversight and management oversight.  Time does not allow me to cite many examples.  Realistically, there is no management oversight; most certainly it does not exist in the commission system.  The appearance is that virtually everything requested or done in the name of CVAG by the Executive Director is rubber-stamped with little or no critical review at any stage.

 

This is contrary to the way we all manage our cities. CVAG is becoming an out-of-control super-agency and our failure to critically participate in decisions regarding its growth and planning will sooner or later lead to serious litigation with individual, Company, or member cities.  When this happens, our failure of leadership will become obvious to the entire valley.

 

CVAG's executive committee has become a rubberstamp for the CV Link.  While I believe strongly that Mr. Kirk should be terminated for cause. I know this will not happen under CVAG's current leadership.  I do however call for his termination, but in the foreseeable absence of such an act, I submit that he received a written reprimand from its Executive Committee for one or more of these transgressions, including but not limited to:

1: Threatening a lawsuit against Indian Wells on baseless accusations concocted by Tom Kirk and Jan Harnik- a false front intended to intimidate my city in the refunding money it rightfully possessed.

 

2: CVAG is moving in many directions beyond their original charter; and while expanding its own reach and authority they vigorously oppose enabling votes by the city councils and/or the general public.  Any decision that cannot stand the light of voter approval should be beyond CVAG's scope of authority.  The rules must allow for public scrutiny on important projects while continuing resistance must be reversed.

 

3: The $24.3 million loss of a funding grant for CV link from CTC was the direct result of misrepresentations and critical omissions in CVAG's application.  By including census tracts including Mecca, Thermal and Oasis they created an appearance of greater benefit to low income residents than was true.  Similar misleading resulted from the omission of census tracts from affluent regions.

 

4: The intentional failure of CVAG's grant application to disclose that Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells had voted against their streets being used as part of the CV link route.  Mr. Kirk undoubtedly assumed CV Link had a greater chance of receiving a larger award if this two city "divorce" was withheld from the grand assessment team.

 

5: Mr. Kirk's failure to establish a proper oversight and meet previous commitments related to the original funding by Valley cities of Roys Desert Shelter, which is now closing.

 

6: Over the past four years Mr. Kirk is misled CVAG and the public on many CV link issues.

 

7: Finally, I also urge the Executive Committee to create a Finance Committee to oversee, review and assess (a) CVAG's financial decisions over $25,000 and (b) assess and report on all proposed contracts between CVAG and cities, contractors and others.

 

CVAG is too important to the Coachella Valley for us to allow it to become a fiefdom for one person- the Executive Director.

 

Ty Peabody, Indian Wells Councilman

 


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