The County Voice

You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

When outgoing CSAC President Leticia Perez was addressing the Association membership at last week’s Annual Meeting, she talked about how she found every-other-year of the conference to be bittersweet. That has nothing to do with the quality of the conference, but rather because it was a time to bid goodbye to colleagues who are leaving office.

Yes, there is a definite changing of the guard at every-other CSAC Annual Meeting. We start it off with the CSAC New Supervisors Institute, a golden opportunity for supervisors-elect to get their first look at the complexities of county government and begin to make new friends from around the state. And the week ends with scores of veteran supervisors bidding farewell to their old friends as their final term nears an end.

Overall, we are losing more than 450 years of experience at the county level. Nine supervisors served for at least 20 years and a combined 204 years: Jerry O’Banion, Merced, 28 years;  John Tavaglione, Riverside, 24 years; Bill Horn and Ron Roberts, San Diego, 24 years each;  Larry Munger, Sutter, 24 years; Steve Worthley, Tulare, 20 years; Simon Salinas, Monterey, 20 years;  David Kehoe, Shasta, 20 years; and Jeff Smith, Lake, 20 years.

Supervisor O’Banion was first elected in 1990, making him the second-longest tenured county supervisor currently in the state, behind Alpine County’s Donald Jardine, who was just re-elected to his ninth term. Think about what was happening when Supervisor O’Banion first took office:  Pete Wilson was starting his first term as Governor, state general fund expenditures were about $43 billion, the state population was just about 30 million, and the number of internet users worldwide reached 1 million.

How times have changed – as do the county officials we work with so closely. The contributions of those leaving office — to their respective counties as well as to CSAC — will be missed. Their institutional knowledge is irreplaceable. We thank all those leaving office for their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for California’s 39 million residents.

And that brings us to our incoming class of new county supervisors, which will account for only 14 percent of supervisors statewide. The class of 41 is relatively small since this was the election cycle where the vast majority of counties only had two of the five supervisorial seats open.  With the election of San Bernardino County Supervisor James Ramos to the Assembly, 29 counties will have at least one new supervisor, once the Governor makes an appointment and that individual is sworn in.

About 90 percent of the supervisors-elect have previously held public office – most on city councils, although a few come from the world of school boards. We also welcome one former Senator, Tom Berryhill , Stanislaus County, who is replacing another former legislator, Dick Monteith, who is retiring after  three terms. Former Assemblymembers Nathan Fletcher, San Diego County, and Gregg Hart, Santa Barbara County, are also joining the supervisorial ranks.

Of the 41 supervisors-elect, 10 are women, including a familiar face: Merita Callaway of Calaveras County, who previously served a number of terms on the board. The new supervisors will also bring a wide variety of professional experience to their positions.

And so as 2018 draws to an end, we wish our outgoing supervisors the best of luck in their new endeavors and celebrate the impact they have had on their communities. At the same time, we welcome the 41 incoming supervisors, and we look forward to working closely with them in 2019 and beyond.

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