Goofy gavel

By From page A4 | January 01, 2014

“Having not said anything the first time, it was somehow even more difficult to broach the subject the second time around.”
― Douglas AdamsSo Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Sometimes being chairman of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors will go to a person’s head. A person gets control of the gavel and thinks he is God’s chosen one with powers beyond merely running the meetings.

One board chairman in the 1990s, John Upton, even signed a contract brought by the CAO without bothering to bring it to a vote of the board.

Now, we have learned from several sources that Chairman Ron Briggs allowed Bill Center to ramble on about his opinion of traffic conditions on Highway 50 without benefit of engineering staff expertise to set the record straight. That was because Chairman Briggs apparently instructed staff not to respond. He didn’t just abrogate the First Amendment, but he skewed the information for the rest of the board and the county as a whole.

Here is how the Business Alliance Newsletter recounted it:

“Supervisor Ray Nutting repeatedly asked for staff to respond to questions posed by the BOS and members of the public, but no staff came forward. After Supervisor Nutting expressed frustration that no answers were provided, Chairman Briggs (District 4) reported he had directed staff not to participate in the Measure Y presentation.”

Center’s conclusion: “…according to the General Plan we must stop residential subdivisions.”

Oh, thank you Mr. Bill. You already helped close Michigan-Cal when you were on the board. Why not close down the rest of the county?

Apparently Chairman Briggs is going out in a chariot of fire. After giving county employees a 15 percent raise and chain-sawing elected department heads’ pay by up to 40 percent he justified the resolution he pulled out of a hat at a Monday meeting by telling reporter Chris Daley, “The joy ride for some electeds is over.”

He followed that folly up with letting rafting industry advocate Center pass himself off as a traffic specialist and the county’s nationally recognized traffic consultants as total dim wits.

By the end of the year the chairman’s gavel had clearly gone goofy. Someone else will get the chairman’s gavel for 2014. It can’t happen soon enough. Hopefully, the next board chairman or chairwoman won’t take 2013’s chairman as an example of how a chairman should act.

Denying valid information to the rest of the board is not in the chairman’s job description and it is just plain dysfunctional.

Mountain Democrat

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