Commentary: Fitzpatrick’s take on events ignores law


Re. “Commentary: No-bid contracts are insulting to ratepayers,” (Jan. 23):

Former Costa Mesa Sanitary District Director Jim Fitzpatrick recently wrote a commentary regarding his resignation from the district Board of Directors.

As a current director, I feel the public has the right to know that there is more than one side to this complicated story.


When an elected official is sworn into office, one of the admissions is that the elected official swears to defend the laws of the state of California. Not only defend the laws, but obey them as well.

In the matter regarding Fitzpatrick’s resignation from the Costa Mesa Sanitary District, he wants you to believe that the other board members were out to get him because he questioned too many things.

Speaking only for myself, this is just not the case. I chose the course of action I did because the law said that holding two offices, as he did, created “an incompatibility of office.”

The California attorney general ruled that there was overwhelming evidence that the district should go forward with legal action to remove him from office.

Fitzpatrick chose to ignore that edict, as well as the opinion of attorneys, in holding the two offices simultaneously. Fitzpatrick created the turmoil by ignoring the law, as well as sound legal advice from district counsel. His actions forced the legal proceedings and the need for attorney costs.

He would also have the public believe that there is some personal animosity on the part of other board members toward him. Again, speaking for myself, this is just not the case.

I have no grudge against Fitzpatrick. I appreciated his ideas and questions about the programs and policies for the ratepayers. He is a bright young man with a lot to contribute. Unfortunately, he decided that he was right and that the legal opinions provided to him were wrong.

Fitzpatrick’s numerous letters to this paper, and others, have continued to present a partial picture of the facts in this case. Fitzpatrick is not a victim of others; he inflicted the problems that surround his resignation from the Sanitary District board on himself.

Longtime Costa Mesa resident MIKE SCHEAFER is a Costa Mesa Sanitary District board member.