Reid’s seat may not be immediately filled
Filling the open seat left vacant in the wake of the sudden passing of former Mono County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Reid won’t be easy.
And as it turns out, the process may not be quick, either.
According to an update from County Administrative Officer Dave Wilbrecht at the Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, finding the right person for the post could conceivably take a year, depending on what scenario ultimately plays out.
As counties in California are essentially, as Wilbrecht put it, “subsets” of the state, pursuant to California Government Code § 25060, the Governor has the authority to fill a vacancy on a county board of supervisors until the next general election cycle, which doesn’t occur until June 2010.
Wilbrecht said that it’s possible a list of names and qualifications could be sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento for his consideration. However, governors often don’t like to make such appointments, fearing political fallout from them.
This may not necessarily be the case with Schwarzenegger, who has something of a history where such matters are concerned. In April of this year, the Governator appointed Andrew Vasquez Jr. to the Yuba County Board of Supervisors to represent its District and fill a vacancy that opened when Supervisor Dan Logue was elected to the California State Assembly.
Another potential issue is Mono County’s size and influence, or lack thereof. Will Schwarzenegger really get around to such a relatively minor housekeeping detail for a county that lacks the profile or economic caché of Los Angeles or Orange?
Even if names are submitted, it’s not a given that the governor will act on them. If that’s the case, nominees will start surfacing sometime in or around January for the June election. If that election leads to a runoff because no candidate reaches 50% plus one, the seat would not be filled until the next general election in November, one year from now.
Wilbrecht said one option could be that the Board will operate with four supervisors for however long that may be. He said this was a likely scenario – adding that it’s personal feeling and not one based on anything he’s heard from the Board.
“What’s unfortunate is that those living in District 4 will have to be provided with another quick, expedient way to deal with their issues until a new supervisor is found,” Wilbrecht said. “It’s just happenstance, the way things are designed at the state level.” Wilbrecht said he was confident the Board would look out for the north county’s interests in any case, be it by another supervisor assuming those duties, Wilbrecht himself stepping in to help out or some combination that would allow constituents direct and timely access to the Board.
All options to be considered will be on the table when the Board meets to decide what they will do going forward starting this coming Tuesday, Nov. 3, during its first regular meeting following the untimely loss of Chair Reid. Supervisor Byng Hunt will take over as acting Chair in the interim.