Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Antioch Mayor Harper oversteps authority, limiting Council Members in getting matters heard

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

He’s been acting unilaterally, implementing an unapproved policy

Payton Perspective logo Antioch Mayor Harper oversteps authority, limiting Council Members in getting matters heardBy Allen Payton

In California, a separately elected mayor in a General Law City, as we have in Antioch, the mayor has only three more powers than the rest of the council members. Those are to lead meetings, sign documents on behalf of the city and nominate council members and residents to city or regional committees and commissions. That’s it.

Yet, recently it was discovered that Antioch Mayor Wade Harper has been overstepping his authority by implementing a new practice of requiring at least three council members to agree, before an issue any of them bring up, can be placed on a council agenda.

At the end of the January 13th council meeting, during Council Communications, Mayor Pro Tem Lori Ogorchock requested that an item for hiring three more Community Service Officers using Measure O funds be placed on the January 27th council meeting agenda. Harper told her she had to get a consensus of the rest of the council to do so. He also told her to meet with City Manager Steve Duran, first.

Yet, in an email on Friday, January 23, Harper admitted it’s not a requirement.

To my emailed questions of when and why this practice started, how can the council avoid the Brown Act Open meeting law by following it, and where is it in Robert’s Rules of Order, which the Antioch City Council has historically followed, to support such a practice, Harper wrote,

By stating that a council member needs the agreement of at least three council persons to have an item placed on the agenda we assure that no one Councilmember acts unilaterally. The city manager usually looks for a nod from at least three council members. I was correct in stating that our practice has been to get agreement from at least three councilmembers. A consensus is great, but not required. Recommendation to meet one on one city manager has no Brown Act violations and is standard practice. We as councilmembers meet with the city manager regularly and can ask questions. These are private discussions between individual councilmembers and the city manager. There are times when the city manager will find it necessary to include additional information in his weekly report to the Council, which is posted on the City web site to share to the community.”

The mayor’s approach and thinking were wrong. A council member does not act unilaterally by having an item placed on the agenda. The action occurs when a majority vote of council members.

So by implementing this new, unauthorized practice, Harper has actually been the one acting unilaterally. He has been preventing each of the council members from properly representing the people who elected them, by placing a matter of interest or concern on a future council meeting agenda for discussion by both the council and public, with a possible vote by the council.

The results of such a practice are it stifles debate and puts any one council member at the mercy of a majority voting block to accomplish what they were elected to do and get things done while in office. Here’s the kicker, until I had learned about this two weeks ago, it appears that no one questioned the practice, including the other council members, two of whom have only been serving since 2012 when Harper was elected Mayor. So, they’ve all been limited in their ability to properly represent “we the people” during that time, most likely unknowingly.

Who came up with this new practice – because it was never put into practice in the previous 18 years of our city’s history – and how long it has been followed, since Harper was elected mayor is unknown, as Harper, Duran and Nerland failed to answer that question after three emails were sent to them all. But, it appears this practice has been going on for the two years he’s been mayor, and without a vote of the council to approve it as a resolution or policy.

Antioch City Clerk Arne Simonsen, who is one of the city council’s parliamentarians, as is City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland, agreed to review the council’s votes over the last two years since Harper was elected mayor and confirmed that there had been no vote on the practice.

Previous mayors and council members agree that this practice was new, under Harper.

In an email response from Simonsen, he stated “During my 8 years on the Council, Mayor Freitas allowed any council member to request an item to be placed on a future agenda. Then it would be up to the Mayor and City Manager to determine when it would be best to put in on a future agenda.” Harper, Duran and Nerland were all copied on his email.

In conversations with the last three mayors that have served Antioch, both Jim Davis and Don Freitas said they were surprised by the new practice. Davis called it ridiculous. Both of them used the approach that any council member could propose an agenda item and it was up to them when meeting with the city manager to determine, based on time management and proper prioritization of issues, when to place it on a council meeting agenda.

The third former mayor, current Councilwoman Mary Rocha, said she couldn’t remember what the practice was when she served in the position from 1996 to 2000 and suggested I contact the League of California Cities.

However, I served on the council with Rocha for the first two years of her term as Mayor and can tell you the practice was the same then and during all four years of my term, as under Davis and Freitas. Both of them were elected in 1998 and served during Rocha’s final two years as mayor. Freitas stated the practice was the same during those years, as well.

I contacted the League of Cities to find out if there is a standard practice by city councils, throughout the state, for council members placing items on an agenda. But there is not.

Eva Spiegel, Communications Director with the League wrote in an email, I checked with our general counsel again and he says that he is not aware whether there is a standard practice for California cities – it likely varies from city to city, and certainly a city council can change what the current practice with a majority vote.”

However, again, the city council never took a vote to approve this new practice.

So, the mayor is correct in his explanation that it’s not required, unless and until it’s put on the agenda and a majority of council members vote to approve it, which is rather ironic. But, as of Monday night, Harper had not yet responded to my last email to him on the subject, sent last Friday, asking him since a consensus wasn’t required “then why did you tell Lori she had to achieve that before having her item placed on the agenda?” and “What are you going to do to rectify this situation and inform the rest of the council?”

When reached for comment, Ogorchock said she had not heard from the mayor about the issue, as of Saturday. Calls to both Council Members Monica Wilson and Tony Tiscareno, asking if they were aware this practice was not authorized and not a requirement, went unanswered, on Monday.

Hopefully the mayor will let the council members know at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

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Watchdog: Illuminating list of appointees for Antioch’s Standby Council Members

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog: Illuminating list of appointees for Antiochs Standby Council MembersBy Barbara Zivica

At the January 13th City Council meeting, pursuant to state law and Article 6 of Title 2 of the Antioch Municipal Code which provides for the appointment of Standby City Council Members “in the event of a declaration of emergency and a council member is unavailable due to being killed, missing or having an incapacitating injury” council members nominated their standbys. Standby Council Members are not activated in the event of a “regular” vacancy of a council seat.

I found the Council’s standby nominations to be illuminating, likely to reflect how they will vote on certain issues. Following are those nominated by each council member and approved for appointment by the council.

Mayor Wade Harper:

1. Vincent Manuel – Senior District Representative for Supervisor Federal Glover, October 2011 – present. Division Manager of Neighborhood Development Services for the City of Pittsburg, Administrative Analyst, City of Pittsburg, and Education & Training Program Manager, League of California Cities.

2. Diane Gibson-Gray – Trustee, Antioch Unified School District Board, Executive Director of Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch.

3. Robert Miller – Attorney with David Sternberg & Associates, real estate law and estate planning.

Mayor Pro Tem Ogorchock:

1. Allen Payton – former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member, Publisher and Editor of Antioch Herald newspaper, C0-Chair, 2013 Antioch July 4th Celebration, Co-Founder, Celebrate Antioch Foundation.

2. William Chapman – Recipient of the 2010 Antioch Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, retired.

3. Manny Soliz, Jr – former Antioch Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member, Financial Consultant, Thrivent Financial, co-founder Delta Blues Festival.

Council Member Mary Rocha:

1. Louie Rocha, Jr. – Principal, Antioch High and Mary’s son.

2. Jessica Fernandez – Northern California Paper Recyclers and Mary’s daughter.

3. Ken Gray – Diane Gibson-Gray’s husband, retiree of City of Pittsburg, Member at Large on Tri Delta Transit Board of Directors.

Council Member Monica Wilson:

1. Don Freitas – former Antioch Mayor and Council Member, former Contra Costa Water District Board Trustee, retired Director of the CCC Flood Control and Water Conservation District who conducted the failed Clean Water ballot election in 2012. Ran for Mayor against Harper, November 2012.

2. Lamar Thorpe – Came in fourth in 2014 Antioch City Council race. Supported by Contra Costa Labor Council and CC Building & Construction Trades Council. Said he ran Wilson’s Campaign. His campaign flyer said he was born in prison. Denied a sexual abuse charge which occurred when he was in college. Because victim declined to testify, a Finding of Fact report only found him in violation of disorderly conduct for lewd and indecent behavior and was given one year of disciplinary probation.

3. Patrice Guillory – The Education Trust-West, manages statewide coalition of 401 civil rights and education reform organizations to influence state’s regulatory process for implementing the new Local Control Funding Formula.Was campaign manager for Monica Wilson and Political Director for Lamar Thorpe.

Council Member Tony Tiscareno:

1. Diane Gibson-Gray (see above)

2. Argentina Luevano – unsuccessful candidate for Antioch City Council in 200 and City Clerk in 2012. Head of California LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens Institute. According to Huffing Post article was chastised by National Director of LULAC for endorsing on behalf of LULAC a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana usage, active in the Kiwanis of the Delta-Antioch.

3. Greg Feere – Chief Financial Officer -Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council (AFL-CIO) Feere touts Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) which are union only agreements that require the contracting agency hire only union members, thus decreasing bid competition and thus driving up project cost.

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Letter write questions the need for Antioch recall

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Dear Editor:

Rich Buongiorno…“$33K for a recall is nothing”…

Not able to be, blindly for, or against any faction or person. Nope, can’t. My thoughts and opinions were and continue to be formed via a life long habit of “going in” to learn and understand.

In late August, 1993, on our second day in Antioch, we made a first shopping trip to a local grocery store. By the entrance was a “Recall The Mayor” group. They asked us to sign their petition and my husband said, “Not interested.” Coming out of the store with a cart full of bags, we were greeted by much more aggressive calls to sign. We chose to remain silent while proceeding to the car and unloading of the groceries into it’s trunk.

Our silence set off two in the group. They followed us, waving the petition and shouting at us. I remember accusations of “being part of the problem”, “stupid irresponsible snobs” and we got into the car to “dam commuters.”

Some years later, a couple of new council members had a public TV program where they railed angrily against anything to do with Southeast Antioch. A common theme was to warn possible new citizens about “miserable, crowded schools” and unimaginable traffic. They leveled accusations, specifically naming various people and institutions in town for destroying Antioch’s quality of life. Anger and complaining was vented over “gentrification.” “Wasteful street landscaping” and unaffordable taxes were stressed.

A year or so later an uproar was raised to a new city code requiring storage of RVs and boats out of sight. Southeast residents were routinely charged with ruining Antioch’s quality of life. I subscribed to the Ledger-Dispatch to learn more about my new town. Unfortunately, the paper’s columnist, Clay Kallam, could find nothing good with the town. In disgust, I cancelled my subscription. Later I would try again and Mr. Kallum’s constant negative droning would lead to me to cancel my subscription, again.

An Antioch, “Old Timer” told me about the anger and loud complaining that resulted from the building of the new police station. I researched and read the stories about that new building on 2nd and L Streets. The opposed citizens nicknamed it “Taj Mahal.”

After 22 years in Antioch, it seems that whatever the civic problem arises, it must always be “someone’s” fault. Some one, one person. Some one isn’t doing their job. Come to think of it, during last November’s election, voter turnout was a low record for Antioch. Some one, one person must be at fault. Below is a list from aU.S. federal government website of our duties as citizens.

  • Support and defend the Constitution.

  • Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.

  • Participate in the democratic process.

  • Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.

  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.

  • Participate in your local community.

  • Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.

  • Serve on a jury when called upon.

  • Defend the country if the need should arise

Could it be we are asking our leaders to do our jobs, as well as theirs? Another thought that comes to me is that if $33K for a recall is nothing, couldn’t it be better spent on, say, a season’s after school part time jobs, with students running enrichment activities on-site at our beautiful parks?

Hilda Parham

Antioch

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Payton Perspective: Supervisors correct mistake on pay raise thanks to people power

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Payton Perspective logo Payton Perspective: Supervisors correct mistake on pay raise thanks to people powerBy Allen Payton

On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Supervisors voted to rescind the 33% pay raise that four had voted themselves in November, to avoid a referendum that had garnered almost 40,000 signatures.

I applaud the supervisors for correcting their mistake, which is what the original vote was. I also applaud both the Deputy Sheriffs and the members of Local 1, the county employees’ largest union, who led the referendum effort.

They were exercising our nation’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights “to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances” and our state’s right to a referendum, giving the people the opportunity to undo bad government decisions.

The public was rightfully upset and it showed by how quickly the signature gatherers were able to obtain the necessary total to place the issue on the ballot.

But, the supervisors were able to prevent that from happening, by taking a new vote on the pay raise.

Unfortunately, it appears that some of the supervisors still didn’t get the message, as they continued to make arguments to support their original vote. The humorous thing was that they called it an “adjustment.”

The supervisors had already received a 60% pay raise in 2007, taking their salaries from about $59,000 to over $95,000. The 33% pay raise was on top of that and would have give them a total annual salary of over $127,000. They argued that had they received a 4% raise each year since then, it would have totaled 32%. But, that doesn’t take into account the fact that we had an economic downturn in 2008 and no pay raises were appropriate for years after that.

The bottom line is they were all elected knowing how much they would get paid and earning over $97,000 a year plus a generous benefits package, is pretty good, especially for a second household income for most of them.

Since it’s their responsibility to set their own salaries, the supervisors could have done it when the previous employee contracts came up for approval, and at the most, tied it to the San Francisco Area Consumer Price Index, instead of 70% of the salaries of Superior Court Judges, a position which requires not only a college degree but a law degree, as well. That’s seven years of college. As I touched on when I wrote about this subject, previously, there is no educational requirement to be a county supervisor.

Had they tied it to the CPI, they would have only received a 2.7% pay raise this year and a total of 14.5% since 2009. But, even that would have been too much, in light of the economic downturn and remember, when they raise their pay, it also increases their retirement benefits.

Trying to play catch up all in one fell swoop, years later was just not right and should never be attempted, again.

Hopefully, now they will follow the lead of the newest member of the Board of Supervisors, Candace Andersen, who is the only one to vote against the pay raise, and would only accept what the employees received of about 2-3%, this year.

We shall see. At least for now, the four supervisors, who voted for the raise, were reminded who’s really in charge, here. It’s we the people, and when they do something with which we disagree, we will rise up, take back control of our government, even if for a brief time, and set things straight.

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Common Core implementation will prove costly error for California

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Dear Editor:

I don’t usually like to make predictions. By nature, I’m a cautious person. So, when I do, finally, determine to go out on a limb and tell others what I think the future holds, I want it to be as near as possible to a certainty.

Such is the case with the current direction of education in the state of California. This year, school districts throughout the state are implementing the Common Core standards, and, more importantly, the teaching techniques supposedly designed to align with them.

My prediction: This program will prove to be the largest education debacle in the history of the state. The vast majority of the students subjected to this program will fail to achieve proficiency in either mathematics or English, regardless of grade level. The gap in performance that exists between students in affluent communities (or who are homeschooled) and those who, under the new Local Control Funding Formula are considered disadvantaged, will widen. This will happen in spite of the millions of dollars sent to local school districts in the form of Supplemental and Concentration Grants designed to help these same, disadvantaged, students.

How can I be so sure? Two reasons. One, my fourteen years of experience as a teacher and administrator at private schools informs my prediction. Second, we only have to look at New York, a couple of years ahead of us on the curve, to see how things will go.

For the last fourteen years I’ve been a math teacher at private schools. I’ve taught across multiple grade levels, from 2nd grade through 12th grade. I’ve taught courses from basic arithmetic through algebra, trigonometry, and pre-calculus. I’ve seen what works, and what doesn’t. By the time my students finished 8th grade, they typically scored in the 90th percentile or above on the Stanford Achievement Test.

These results didn’t happen overnight. Over the years, I used a variety of texts, and teaching methods, checking the progress of my students weekly with tests measuring cumulative proficiency with the subject matter, and annually, with the aforementioned Stanford Achievement Test. When progress stalled, or overall results failed to show a high level of proficiency, changes were made. No matter how much I liked a curriculum, if it didn’t produce results, it was gone.

The experience I had in successfully taking students to a high-level of proficiency gives me great confidence when analyzing teaching programs.

In teaching math, what works, year-in and year-out, is a steady, incremental development of math concepts, with an emphasis on memorizing the algorithms that most efficiently lead to the correct answer. Couple this with time spent having students practice what has been learned (i.e., working out problems in class), and you are virtually guaranteed success…regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or any other factor.

I also know, from experience, what doesn’t work. Lengthy lectures, teaching students multiple ways to solve a problem, having students solve problems in groups, letting students take turns guessing about how they might solve a problem, and having students write out long explanations to justify their reasoning are all methods which fail to deliver results. Unfortunately, some of these failed ideas are what is being pushed on teachers as Common Core is rolled out. At the same time, the methods that guarantee success, memorization, learning the most efficient algorithms, and practice, are being thrown out.

The second reason I can be sure of my prediction is based on the experience the state of New York has already had in the implementation of Common Core. New York got a head start in Common Core teaching techniques when the program began to be implemented during the 2011-2012 school year. During the 2012-2013 school year, all mathematics instruction for grades 3-8 was Common Core aligned.

We have only to look at the results of the program in New York to see where our educational program in California is headed. An Internet search reveals scores of articles and videos denouncing the program. Most students in the state failed to achieve proficiency during the high-stakes testing process. Students have gone from loving, to hating, school. Parents have crowded school board meetings demanding an end to the program. It has even become a major issue in the current race for governor, with most candidates calling for its suspension.

While there is still time to stop the looming disaster that is Common Core in California, I don’t expect that to happen. Those who make policy for the education establishment in our state are running full-tilt toward the Common Core canyon, and there appears to be no brake-man on this runaway train. Those children who remain on board seem doomed to academic failure for the next few years.

Is there any hope? Yes, for some. The only students who will have any chance at avoiding this fiasco are those that are homeschooled (and not through the public school ‘homeschool’ options now popping up across the state), or enrolled in the few private schools that have not bought into the new teaching methods.

Why will homeschoolers and some private school students avoid the problem? Because most of them use curriculums that focus on the very successful methods that I mentioned above. Programs like Saxon Math, and A Beka, which provide repeated practice of standard algorithms remain popular with homeschool families in particular, and for good reason. In a 2009 study commissioned by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), the average homeschool student was found to perform 34 percentage points ahead of his average public school counterpart.

New York recently released half of the questions used for their latest Common Core assessment tests. After reviewing the math questions, and comparing them with the concepts taught in the Saxon math curriculum with which I’m most familiar, I concluded that students who use this or a like curriculum, will not just continue to outperform their counterparts. Their peers, having to wade through the extremely inefficient methods used in the Common Core program, will lose even more ground. Thus, ironically, the gap between homeschooled and public schooled students will actually widen as Common Core, supposedly adopted to ‘save’ American education, moves forward.

Last week I spoke with William Estrada, Esq., Director of Federal Relations at HSLDA regarding my prediction. HSLDA has been an outspoken critic of Common Core. Even so, Estrada confirmed that the position their organization has taken against it is not because the new standards will put homeschooled students at any disadvantage. Referring to various college entry tests, he said, “At this point, it appears that these tests (like the Common Core standards themselves) are being dumbed down, which could actually result in homeschoolers doing even better on these tests.”

As they say, forewarned is forearmed. There’s not much chance that the state education train will change direction. But at least some parents can still get their children off at the next stop. Either way, 2016 will be an exciting election year, as California parents, like their New York counterparts, begin to flood school board meetings and other forums to demand changes and reverse the disaster that is coming with Common Core.

John Crowder

Crowder is the Herald’s local government reporter, and a former private academy administrator and teacher. This commentary was originally posted at educationreformer.org in October, 2014.

 

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Watchdog – Antioch crime and the affects of Prop 47

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Watchdog Logo 300x95 Watchdog – Antioch crime and the affects of Prop 47By Barbara Zivica

Although Antioch’s homicide rate went down in 2014 (9 victims vs. 12 in 2013 and 10 in 2012) Antioch residents remain dissatisfied with continuing high crime statistics despite passage of Measure C (the half cent sales tax increase) and Measure O, another recent tax measure, revenues of both which are deposited into the General Fund where legally they can be used for multiple purposes.

One has to wonder if the passage of Prop 47, which made 10,000 felons eligible for early release, eliminated automatic felony prosecution for stealing a gun, and reduced penalties for theft, receiving stolen property and forgery as well as possession of drugs used to facilitate date rape has made the drug and crime situation worse. It’s my opinion that it has.

One thing we know already is that, due to changing felony charges for drug possession and other nonviolent offenses to misdemeanors, fewer drug offenders are choosing drug treatment programs and instead returning to the streets to ply their drug trade. I can point out a few corners in Antioch where the same drug dealers return day after day. Cops just pass on by because making an arrest which will just be reduced to a slap on the wrist is not worth the time or cost of processing, transporting and filing charges with the District Attorney. Can’t say I blame them.

Speaking of our cops, I want to express my appreciation for the fact that they, and department K9′s, too put their life on the line every day to serve and protect all the citizens of Antioch without bias.

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El Campanil foundation says thank you, announces winners of raffle rundraiser

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Dear Editor:

On behalf of El Campanil Theatre Preservation Foundation, I would like to thank all of those involved with our recent Gift Basket Raffle Fundraiser. Our goal was to sell 1000 tickets and raise $10,000. We met our goal and exceeded it by nearly $500! We congratulate our winners Floyd Furgeson of Discovery Bay, Leslie Munson of Antioch and Ali Shironi of Antioch.

A very important part of any raffle is the prize donors. We are very thankful that Southwest Airlines, Disneyland and many local businesses donated the wonderful prizes which were a part of each gift basket.

I want to let our Executive Director and Board know how much their time and support in procuring prizes and selling tickets is appreciated.

Finally, we are all eternally grateful to every person who purchased at least one raffle ticket during these past few months.

As a Board, we are committed to do everything possible to continue to sustain our local landmark and treasure, El Campanil Theatre, bringing quality entertainment close to home at affordable prices.

Ron Yarolimek

Foundation Board President

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Payton Perspective: 33% pay raise for County Supervisors needs to be reversed, can work part-time

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Payton Perspective logo 300x140 Payton Perspective: 33% pay raise for County Supervisors needs to be reversed, can work part timeBy Allen Payton, Publisher

Four members of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, including Federal Glover and Mary Piepho, who each represent portions of Antioch, voted to give themselves a 33% pay raise, on October 28. Their pay, in January, will increase from an already generous $97,476 to more than $129,000 per year. They also tied their future salary increases to what judges in the county get paid. Plus, their action will also increase their pensions.

The question is, why do the Supervisors feel they need a full-time salary for what’s supposed to be a part-time position? They have full-time, professional staff to run the day-to-day operation of the county, namely the County Administrator and his department heads, and all their staff, much like a Council-Manager city. (See county organizational chart, here). Plus, there are the county-wide elected officeholders who run their own departments, including the District Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Clerk-Recorder, Auditor-Controller, and Assessor, although their budgets are approved by the Supervisors.

But, unlike city governments, in California, a county is actually an administrative division of state government, and has the responsibility for implementing and refining the local application of state law and policy. They don’t make their own laws, as cities do. As a result, the county only has discretionary control over about 15% of its budget.

Plus, the Supervisors only govern the unincorporated areas of the county. Most of the residents in the county live within the boundaries of the 19 cities. Of the 1,049,025 county residents, as of the 2010 Census, 889,740 lived within city boundaries, and only 159,285 lived outside. That’s all the people the five Supervisors actually have to serve, directly. While that’s 30% more than the county’s largest city, Concord, none of their council members are full-time, nor earn anywhere near the Supervisors’ current salaries or benefits.

Supervisors are elected to be policy makers, not full-time officeholders, and merely have to give direction to their staff to implement their policies.

In addition, each Supervisor has their own office and paid staff to be available to county residents and business owners, to deal with their concerns and problems they may have with the county government.

According to their own webpage, following are their “Duties and Responsibilities”

As defined by general law, the duties of the Board of Supervisors include:

  • Appointing most County department heads, except elected officials, and providing for the appointment of all other County employees
  • Providing for the compensation of all County officials and employees
  • Creating officers, boards and commissions as needed, appointing members and fixing the terms of office
  • Awarding all contracts except those that are within the authority delegated to the County Purchasing Agent
  • Adopting an annual budget
  • Sponsoring an annual audit made of all County accounts, books, and records
  • Supervising the operations of departments and exercising executive and administrative authority through the County government and County Administrator
  • Serving as the appellate body for Planning and Zoning issues
  • Serving as the County Board of Equalization (the Board has created an Assessment Appeals Board to perform this function)

They meet as a Board, once a week, on Tuesdays. They choose to hold their meetings during the day, instead of at night, which is unfortunate for their constituents who have day-time jobs. But, that’s another issue I’ll save for another time.

The Supervisors may have chosen to work their positions on a full-time basis, but it’s not necessary.

There are three examples I can think of regarding Supervisors who understood that fact. When Mark DeSaulnier was on the Board of Supervisors, he also owned, operated and worked at his restaurant, T.R.’s Bar & Grill in Concord. When Bob Schroder was a Supervisor, he also worked at his insurance business in Walnut Creek. When Tom Powers was a Supervisor, he was also a lawyer and Realtor in the county.

The only current member of the Board of Supervisors who has a potential other career, is John Gioia, who is a licensed attorney. But, he stopped practicing when he was elected to the Board – by choice.

The current members of the Board need to remember they don’t need to work their positions on a full-time basis and should rescind their recent, ridiculous 33% pay raise.

They should follow the lead of the newest member of the Board, Supervisor Candace Andersen, who not only voted against the raise, stated she will only accept the same average 4% raise the rest of the county staff received. I applaud her actions. That will still give them a salary of over $101,000 per year, which is very good for a position that doesn’t require a college degree, as neither Glover nor Piepho have.

Referendum under way

There is currently a referendum effort by county employees, including their main union, Local 1 and the Deputy Sheriffs Association, to place the raise on the ballot and reverse the decision of the four Supervisors. For those who agree it should be rescinded, you can learn more by visiting www.cocodsa.org/referendum, attend one of their meetings this week or next, sign the petition, and even get your own petition to gather signatures, to help place it on the ballot.

This is one time the people need to rise up and send our elected representatives a strong message that what they did was wrong and needs to be reversed.

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