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Ethics violation charges hurled at Supervisor Ron Briggs

By From page A13 | August 08, 2014

Members of the audience excoriated District 4 Supervisor Ron Briggs during the Aug. 5 Board of Supervisors meeting with charges of ethics violations and possibly even corruption.

Generally in support of trying to get supervisors to reconsider their July 29 decision not to approve the “Reinstate Measure Y Initiative” for the November ballot, speakers demanded that Briggs should have recused himself on the earlier vote. It was Briggs’s motion to require a 30-day study of the measure which eventually passed 3-1 and which effectively postpones the “Reinstate Measure Y Initiative” until the next regular election in June 2016.

Frank Verdin with the Shingle Springs Community Alliance/No San Stino movement led a series of speakers noting that Briggs’s son Alex worked as a consultant to the so-called Region Builders initiative, a competitor in a field of three other land-use related initiatives scheduled for November. Supervisors had earlier approved that one for the November ballot, but opponents consider that action as tainted by Briggs’s role in it.

“Why didn’t Mr. Briggs recuse himself,” Verdin asked.

Lori Parlin, also with the Shingle Springs Community Alliance followed Verdin to the podium saying, “We’ve been sabotaged by our board … You had big concerns about the Region Builders, but you didn’t (require a report on them). Mr. Briggs, you didn’t recuse yourself, (you should have because of your son working on a competing initiative).”

Referring to the younger Briggs’s involvement with the other initiative, Patti Chelseth charged that there was a “conflict of interest” that should have been acknowledged.

Proponent of the “Reinstate Measure Y Initiative,” Sue Taylor considered Briggs’s “non-recusal” a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, and directly addressing Briggs, Taylor said, “How about doing the right thing?”

Mark E. Smith of Garden Valley, after verbally pummeling the whole board alleging corruption and virtually “tyrannical” behavior, ┬áhad the harshest criticism for Briggs.

“As a side note,” Smith said as he walked away from the podium, “Mr. Briggs, you deserve to go to jail.”

In response, Briggs said, “We are a political family” and described two of his sons’ involvement in local politics. “If I thought there was one iota of conflict (of interest in this), I would have recused myself.”

County Counsel Ed Knapp later pointed out that the law generally regards the actions of adult, non-dependent children as separate from an office-holder. That is, they do not automatically result in a conflict of interest for the elected official. “I’m not aware of any conflict of interest here,” Knapp concluded.

 

Chris Daley

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