OC Supervisors and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Agenda

From left: OC supervisors Todd Spitzer, Lisa Bartlett, and Andrew Do.

Nick Gerda/Voice of OC

From left: OC supervisors Todd Spitzer, Lisa Bartlett, and Andrew Do.

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Earlier this year, county Supervisor Lisa Bartlett convinced her colleagues to make some major changes to their meetings, including meeting publicly less often and posting initial agendas a week earlier.

Now, with meetings jam-packed with items and massive supplemental agendas to sift through, some of her fellow supervisors have grown irritated – and are speaking out.

Tuesday’s board meeting, for example, had 111 items up for a decision. The supplemental agenda alone, which contained just 17 of those items, was 832 pages long – all in a single, massive document without a listing of which pages particular items could be found on.

Supervisor Todd Spitzer said he was “very frustrated” this past week and weekend trying to get prepared, with the new schedule putting “enormous pressure on us.”

“This was a horrible, horrible, horrible agenda to be prepared for,” said Spitzer, pointing to the six binders of materials he had to go through. “This was a very dense, intense agenda.”

Supervisor Andrew Do also had concerns about the new schedule, saying he recognizes “the frustration that we all face.”

The new two-meeting-per-month schedule is a “tough target to meet,” Do added, suggesting that he and his colleagues look at a better way of handling the situation.

In February, Bartlett – who had recently become the board’s chairwoman – succeeded in getting changes passed that cut down the supervisors’ meeting schedule from 30 to 24 regular meetings per year and extended agenda posting to two weeks in advance, as opposed to one week.

Bartlett sold the change as a way to give the public and supervisors more time to read the agenda and get questions answered by staff before public meetings.

Most of her colleagues pushed back at the time, with Supervisor Shawn Nelson saying the changes were unnecessary and could get in the way of how the county operates.

On Tuesday, Bartlett was hopeful that any kinks with the new schedule could be worked out, saying that by continuing to “work through” it, supervisors will ultimately get “good results.”

County CEO Frank Kim also weighed in, saying he didn’t believe county departments are “fully prepared” for the two-meeting-per-month schedule. It often takes several months to prepare an agenda item for a board meeting, he added.

“I think the challenge for us is getting departments – and our office…more experience and to have the process more ironed out smoothly,” Kim said.

The benefit of the new approach, Kim said, is “more consistency” for staff in terms of when items are coming up, and it gets county staff to communicate further in advance with supervisors’ staffers.

And he said this week’s supplemental agenda was only 8 percent larger than typical for this time of year, given that the fiscal year is almost over.

“It is typical and normal for us to have 100-plus items in May and June. That is standard,” Kim said.

Orange County supervisors now meet far fewer times than their counterparts to the south.

County supervisors in San Diego County – which is similar in population size to Orange County – have 39 regular meetings per year, compared to Orange County’s 24.

Like Orange County’s current schedule, the San Diego County board generally meets during two weeks each month. But for each week they meet, supervisors hold two meetings, on back-to-back days (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Orange County supervisors also expressed frustration Tuesday at what they described as last-minute requests by staff to extend contracts that are about to expire.

“This is not really acceptable,” said Supervisor Michelle Steel, adding that department heads should let the supervisors know six months before contracts expire.

Bartlett also urged more advanced notice, saying that when contracts come up only a month before they expire, it “really backs us in a corner.”

Bartlett and Steel also urged departments to give more metrics on how programs are doing before their contracts come up for renewal, saying that if they don’t, it will be “difficult” for supervisors to approve them.

Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. You can contact him at ngerda@voiceofoc.org.

  • OCservant_Leader

    Reducing the number of BOS meetings accomplishes their collective goals:

    1). Reduce the opportunity for public involvement. No meeting=no public accountability.
    2). Bury the County’s business in an avalanche of binders that creates a barrier and a deterrent to any citizen or media involvement. (Strengthen goal #1)
    3). Avalanche of Binders- creates scapegoat for BOS. They can’t possibly know what’s in the binders?
    4). “Expiring Contracts” scam -Allows cover for their operatives in each Agency to push contracts through -OMG right before they expire-! “Our hands are tied because we can’t stop services to the public”!

    The OC BOS has perfected government corruption.

    • Jacki Livingston

      *standing ovation*
      Six years ago, I sent a letter to the Board, asking to speak to them, even just one of them, regarding abuse and embezzlement going on in the SSA LTC unit. They not only did not make the time, but I was ripped up one end and down the other, because the very crooked individuals I was reporting were given a copy of my letter.

      Four years ago, I tried, again. Then, Moorlach’s underling was told to “handle me”.

      Two years ago, the same, with no answer.

      A little over a year ago, I sent a letter to Spitzer, telling him that he would be the first person on my witness list, and that when I had him under oath, I intended to ask him about the failure to do his ethical duty, His chief of staff called me, and then my case was reassigned in WC court, first to Jamie Spitzer, his wife, then to Louise Armstrong, a long time close personal friend and client of…wait for it…Todd Spitzer! When we went to court, Spitzie never showed, and, instead, filed a false and misleading settlement that was pushed through. In the interim, the county has not honored the terms. What does that have to do with this? Spitzer is a sniveling coward, hiding behind his wife’s and client’s skirts (and robes), and these five people are the most corrupt and incompetent panel of elected officials since the City of Bell scandal. They are, in short, the scum of the Earth, each and every cowardly one of them.

  • Ed Romero

    I know of another Horrible Agenda, the Drug Dealing, Marijuana Smoking, Cocaine Snorting by County employees including that former Chief Probation Officer with a HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION. She used her position of power to Hire and Promote her numerous Lesbian Drug Abuser, rewarding them with positions that they did not qualify to have. It’s a DISGRACE to the Orange County Taxpayers what that Dirty Racist did with County Funds. Everybody knew what she was doing and NO ONE said a thing about it, including the Board of Supervisor’s and that former Orange County Sheriff. I saw on the News how the Police were responding to the demonstrator at that Trump appearance, too bad they didn’t respond in the same way when the neighbors of that former O C Chief Probation Officer would call our Probation Records Unit complaining about all the Marijuana fumes floating over to their house’s from the Chief Probation Officer’s house. I once called the Chief Probation Officer from our Probation Records Unit to advise what her neighbors were complaining about. I remember that Asst. Chief Probation Officer that use to Smoke Marijuana all day long and well into the night while on duty at the Probation Department, she had her very own Gang of Drug Dealers, most of them Deputy Probation Officers who use to make Drug Deliveries right into her Office while on duty. What a bunch of Dirty Rotten Racist they were and some still are.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Oh, Ed…dude…we need to talk. I can compare notes with you about a relative of hers. In fact? I bet that you and I have much to compare, and do something about.

  • UnitedWeStand

    Public comments need to put at the front of the agenda instead of at the end. Its challenging enough for working people to attend a Board of Supervisors meeting during the day, why make it more difficult for the public to have their say by making them wait hours till the end of the meeting, or is that the idea.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Um…yeah…I think that was the idea, all along. They don’t give a tiny rat’s behind about embezzlement, homicide and abuse in their own departments. Do you think these idiots give a good cahoot about what the public that is stupid enough to vote them into office think? Puh-leeze.

  • hamburger nancy

    luckily they have highly qualified, well paid chiefs of staff to keep them on track and on schedule.

    • Jacki Livingston

      I hope that was sarcastic, because you clearly have never tried to have an intelligent conversation with Spitzie’s CoS.

  • Kathleen Tahilramani

    Anybody who has sat and watched these Board meetings knew that this idea was just not practical. Now that the experiment has failed it is probably time to revert to the former system -fast.

  • LFOldTimer

    When this brainchild of Bartlett’s was announced some time ago I warned that it was a train wreck in motion. Now reality is rearing it’s ugly head.

    Do and Spitzer have no justification to complain. Both voted for the change. The only one who opposed it was Nelson. Nelson has a right to say “I told you so”. The others are just as responsible for the condensed meeting schedule as Bartlett and need to acknowledge accountability for their votes.

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that cutting six meetings from the annual schedule would overload the agenda when even before some meetings lasted until 5pm.

    No wonder the county is so messed up. The management are knuckleheads.

    But keep voting, Orange County. You’re doing a splendid job at selecting people to govern your lives.

    • Joanna Clark

      Well said, LFOldTimer. Well said.

    • Jacki Livingston

      Right on the mark, sir…