Full term appointments for elected positions is not responsible governance.

During a meeting on December 13th, 2022, the Board of Supervisors deliberated on the selection process to fill the Auditor-Controller position following the court’s annulment of the June contest, which concluded that Rob Tribble did not meet the qualifications required by law to serve in the position. In order to appoint someone else, the Board was presented two options by Nevada County’s Director of Human Resources under Government Code 26945: (1) a direct appointment by the Board after January 2, 2023, or (2) advertise the position using standard County practices to solicit qualified candidates, send all qualified applicants to an Ad Hoc committee appointed by the Chair for first-round interviews, host a final round of interviews by the Board in an open session, ensure the Board deliberates about the candidates in an open session, and have the Board make a final selection during an open session. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to use the direct appointment process.

Despite a strong recommendation from the Nevada County Superior Court against appointing Gina Will, the Board proceeded with its decision to appoint her for a full term. You can see the Nevada County Superior Court’s recommendation below on page 24 of the Memorandum Decision and Order for this case, NO: CU-0000159.

Recent appointments by the Board of Supervisors for elected positions, such as the recent appointment of Gina Will to the position of Auditor-Controller, have cast doubt on the Board’s adherence to fair and impartial practices – and for good reason. During the Board of Supervisors meeting on December 13th, 2022, Supervisor Hall stated she thought there was a lot to be said for going through the process of advertising the position, like the Board did with the District Attorney, and doing interviews so that it appears the Board is considering anybody who might apply. Supervisor Hall’s acknowledgment of the importance of “appearing” to consider all potential candidates who might apply raises concerns about the Board’s commitment to due process.

The appointment of Gina Will to the position of Auditor-Controller suggests that the Board may be prioritizing its own agenda or that of the Nevada County CEO over the interests of the constituents they serve. Rather than advertising the position using standard County practices to solicit qualified candidates and selecting a final candidate in an open session, it seems the Board chose to merely go through the motions to appear as if they are following the rules. Their choice does not seem to be taking into consideration the long-term implications these decisions have on the constituents of our county nor the possibility that a special election could have been held to fill this position in accordance with Government Code 25304.

As a candidate running for District 1 Supervisor, I’m committed to upholding transparency, fairness, and accountability in our local government. 

At the League of Women Voters (LWV) District 1 Candidate Forum, which you can rewatch in full HERE, I emphasized the importance of holding special elections for elected positions like Auditor-Controller and Tax Collector.

The Board’s recent appointments of Gina Will to the position of Auditor-Controller and Michelle Bodley to the position of Tax Collector are troubling. Elected officials provide crucial checks and balances within county governance, whether their roles pertain to accounting or tax collecting. Instead of taking the Nevada County Superior Court’s recommendation seriously or considering the possibility of holding a special election for the two positions mentioned above, the Board chose to appoint two people to them for full terms. 

As a fiscal conservative, I’m aware of the costs associated with holding special elections, but firmly believe that regardless of the circumstances that create the need for special elections to take place, it’s imperative we honor the democratic process. Putting elected positions on the ballot is fundamental to upholding TRANSPARENCY within local governance!

In my opinion, it’s irresponsible and inappropriate for the Board of Supervisors to disregard the Nevada County Superior Court’s recommendations. I also believe it’s irresponsible and inappropriate to appoint individuals who were not the people’s choice to elected positions. Despite the cost, elected positions should be on the ballot, as needed, during upcoming elections.

In addition to paying close attention to Nevada County Superior Court recommendations made, I regularly review grand jury reports, which are issued annually. By doing so it’s become evident that the Board doesn’t take these recommendations seriously; they either adopt only parts of the recommendations made, or dismiss them altogether. I believe this weakens our grand jury, which inevitably weakens an integral part of our community’s system of checks and balances within county governance.

Your county Supervisor also plays an important role in creating checks and balances for constituents. When elected, I will take Nevada County Superior Court and grand jury report recommendations seriously. I will also work to incorporate a transparent ombudsman hearing process to handle grievances community members have with County staff and/or departmental processes. One of my main priorities as Supervisor is to ensure the Board promotes transparency and accountability moving forward.

If you’re as concerned as I am about what I’ve presented today as well as some of the other issues I’ve raised throughout my campaign, please get out and vote. Voting centers open this Saturday, February 24!

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Michael Taylor

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