red bank cemetery

The gates to Clovis's Red Bank Cemetery on East Shaw Avenue. Google Street View photo

published on May 14, 2024 - 12:49 PM
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The Fresno County Civil Grand Jury recently released its first 2024 report after complaints about the administration and operation of the Clovis Cemetery District.

In a report titled “Is Something Missing in the Clovis Cemetery District?” the Grand Jury investigated a number of allegations, including the District not following generally accepted accounting practices and lacking an updated audit, prepared budget, website and proper landscaping and maintenance.

The last audit conducted of the District was in 2019 — against government code mandating annual, independent audits. The report states disqualification of the District’s accounting firm and personnel changes also contributed to the situation.

The District is currently in the process of preparing financial records from 2018 through 2023 by a qualified accounting firm, as well as computerizing records in order to rectify this issue in the future, according to the report.

The lack of an operating website also violates government code requiring all special districts to have one. According to the report, a website designer was previously building a website for the district, but due to administrative and personnel issues it was not completed. A new designer has been hired to fix the issue.

The grand jury investigation found the landscaping and maintenance issues may have been a result of the decrease in the number of employees and non-functional wells at the Clovis and Red Bank cemeteries.

At the time of report’s publication, the District’s landscape and operations department had nine employees, but only one who is certified to spray the grounds. This person is not a full time mechanic or solely dedicated to this role, said the report.

Furthermore, water wells in the Clovis and Red Bank cemeteries broke down, resulting in dried and dying grass”due to a burned out motor in the Clovis well pump and the Red Bank well drying up. A new motor has since been purchased and installed at the Clovis Cemetery, and a new well has been drilled to 300 feet at the Red Bank Cemetery.

The report also includes potential Brown Act violations, which governs how public meetings are run and disclosed to the public.

The Clovis Cemetery District is required to respond to this report within 90 days of its release.

The Clovis Cemetery District declined to comment to The Business Journal.

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