Supes to share duties until Reid’s replacement is determined
County Administrative Officer Dave Wilbrecht recently theorized that the seat formerly occupied by late Mono County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Reid could well be left vacant until next summer’s election. Turns out that supposition may be right on.
During Tuesday’s first regular meeting following Reid’s passing, the Board deliberated its options, but leaned toward a scenario by which the seat remains unfilled and duties are shared by the respective Board members, with additional coverage by County staff.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ultimate authority and indeed the responsibility to fill the vacancy, and to that end the Board reviewed a draft of a formal letter to the governor advising him of the opening and reminding him of his statutory obligation. The letter, however, does not carry any time constraints, and is being sent with the anticipation that the governor will likely choose not to act on the vacancy. Also included in the letter is language that requests that if the governor plans to NOT make an appointment in a timely manner, he would advise the County that he will take not action.
Assuming that situation is a very real possibility, the Board then took steps to operate with four persons and not fill Reid’s seat at least until the next election in June 2010.
A list of potential names for the governor’s consideration could still be put together, but that option seems unlikely. Supervisor Byng Hunt, who was later elected to take over as Board Chair, said he thinks the governor will probably place filling the vacancy low on his list of priorities.
Farnetti said that, in terms of submitting any list of possible appointees, he was uncomfortable having any influence on the governor. “If the governor gets a name and wants more information on them, I’d be fine with supplying any background at that point, but we should leave it to the [District 4] citizens to put forth suggestions if they want anyone considered.”
Hazard said he also isn’t confident in an appointment coming through, given the typically lengthy amount of time it takes a governor to appoint a replacement. “I’d prefer to wait and see what happens during the next election cycle. Any person who’s interested in running is good for the community,” Hazard said. “They’ll come up to speed on the issues quicker, as opposed to an appointee who would only be filling the seat on a temporary basis. I think District 4 will get a better representative quicker if we don’t go the appointment route.”
Hunt agreed. “It will make us more responsible to District 4, and honor Bill Reid, if we leave the seat open,” he said.
County Counsel Marshall Rudolph is exploring the legal aspects of whether an appointee can run for the seat once it comes up for election. “I don’t think you can legally take away anyone’s right to run,” Rudolph observed. “You could, however, have them voluntarily agree not to run.”
That Reid was active as a supervisor is well known, but just how much became clear when it came to covering his duties on numerous committees.
The Bodie Hills and Conway Ranch task forces are dormant at the moment and thus his seats on those were left unfilled. Hunt took over for Reid on the Collaborative Planning Team, which Reid helped form. Farnetti and Hazard will rotate on Inyo Mono Area Agency on Aging, and Farnetti will also represent Mono County in meetings with Inyo County.
Conflicts with other Board members gave rise to Wilbrecht being tapped to take Reid’s seat on the Local Transportation Commission. Hazard took the point on the Regional Council of Rural Counties, with Hunt as alternate.
Supervisor Vikki Bauer will act as Board’s Town/County Liaison rep, as well as the County’s delegate to the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System. Then there are the many Regional Planning Advisory Committees: Farnetti agreed to handle Bridgeport and Bauer to take over in Lee Vining. She will also participate in future Walker River disucssions, stating that she considers herself already well versed on those issues.
Perhaps the last big duty Reid took on was as point person on work regarding the Bridgeport Tribal Lands Transfer proposal. Hazard, who is already familiar with the situation took the post, with Hunt agreeing to provide a “second set of eyes” as a double check.