Letter to the Editor


Here is part of what I want to share – I hope you can write what I have written.

We live in the greatest county where oversight is provided by our government to protect the people.  The Grand Jury report released on May 23rd was thoughtful and thorough.  It examined the Kern River Valley Cemetery District through fact finding and honest deliberations.

What was meant for good has been “weaponized” by the cemetery Board of Trustees to ruin the lives of two essential cemetery workers who have a combined 50 years of service to the community.  The cemetery Board of Trustees dismissed the manager and secretary using the Grand Jury report as the reason.  What was meant for good by the Grand Jury and ignoring the Grand Jury’s recommendations, the cemetery Board of Trustees flexed their power without considering the ramifications.


1) Essential cemetery workers are critical community infrastructure

2) Historic preservation of death records weakened

3) Burial preservation of land not properly cared for

The last regular board meeting that I participated in on May 14th should have been a warning that my termination was coming.  After being bullied by this group of people during the meeting I was deeply distressed to the point of tears.  At this board meeting my assistant was asked if I had fully utilized him to get the job done – he said no – I was stunned.  At that moment I could not speak to defend myself – they would not have let me anyways.  Looking back it would have been great if I could have said that my assistant was more than 65% done with the data entry assignments and that my assistant would only have to work ten more (four hours) days and his assignment to assist me would have been completed.  Although the District budget only allowed for my assistant to work just eight hours per week, he worked when he could fit the District work into his schedule, my assistant and I were successfully accomplishing our part of the audit processes.  The utter contempt I experienced would have caused anyone to quit on the spot.  I took my licks.  There were two members of the community who sat in on the meeting and witnessed the beginning of my demise.  

My assistant and I, as well as an expert CPA who was hired to help, were finally making some headway albeit behind in our timeline.  The work we were doing was multi-faceted.  The complexity of it was even difficult for the CPA.  Now that I am removed from the process of getting these audits done my assistant is willing to continue on without me.  The backlog had many areas that needed my full attention.  The work I was doing to prepare my assistant for his data entry assignment will be skipped.  I was confirming the historic process of the records was 100% complete and ready for audit.  I want to return to my job so that I can complete what is unfinished.  I would even be willing to work with my replacement to empower that person with my knowledge.  

Our local agency government is a fragile system.  Those in power to oversee the Kern River Valley Cemetery District should become open to scrutiny because they have performed their roles in an unprofessional manner.  For example, I was given my final pay check without signatures, the amount was incorrect and we were left without health benefits information.  Furthermore, somehow my assistant, who was once a KRVCD Trustee, who does not have the cemetery skill set to do more than data entry, who barely knows 5% of the duties performed by a District Secretary, has been left in place to do the work to prepare for complex audits.  

This should concern every tax payer whose properties are assessed taxes to run the cemetery.  Tax appropriations that were carefully budgeted are in the hands of people who have very limited skills in managing a cemetery district of which I thought that job belonged to the District Manager.  This is tragic for the Kern River Valley Cemetery District and the community it serves.  Please protect your tax assessments by attending cemetery board meetings and sharing your concerns.  I can only ask that the members of this community begin to take part in the monthly board meetings that are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 1pm.  The dysfunction of the current Board of Trustees needs review.

I hope that you will not have to edit this information I am giving you.  If you must is it possible for me to have it posted in “Letters to the Editor” instead.

Thank you for your consideration and patience.

Kindest regards,

Laura Kyt