Bartlett Chosen to Lead Supervisors in 2016

Kaitlin Washburn for Voice of OC

County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett at a recent County Supervisors meeting.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett took over as chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday and outlined her policy goals for 2016.

“I’m honored to have your confidence” and respect, Bartlett told her colleagues just after they appointed her during their regular meeting.

She listed a variety of initiatives she wants to focus on during the coming year, including homelessness, transportation improvements, and more transparency when it comes to the board’s public meeting agendas.

“I strongly believe that 2016 will be a year in which our board, our employees, and our county will achieve great things,” said Bartlett, who is taking over for Supervisor Todd Spitzer.

As chairwoman, Bartlett will preside over supervisor’s meetings and influence the meeting agendas, such as deciding whether to accept supplemental or late agenda items.

Supervisor Michelle Steel was chosen as vice chair, meaning she would take over the chair duties at times when Bartlett is absent.

The issues Bartlett wants to tackle include:

  • Continue progress the county has made on reducing homelessness.
  • Building a new animal shelter and improving animal care policies.
  • Working on John Wayne Airport policies to keep the county competitive in the global economy.
  • Working with Sacramento to produce more money for things like transportation and infrastructure projects.
  • Development of Dana Point Harbor.
  • Making board meetings more orderly and transparent.

On the last point, she said she wants to give the public much more advanced notice of board agendas, bumping up the posting of agendas to two weeks before meetings, instead of the current five-and-a-half-days’ notice.

That would also mean earlier staff reports before meetings so supervisors have more time to prepare.

“Right now the board is really squeezed” trying to get things done in five days, Bartlett said. She plans to create an ad-hoc committee of herself and Steel to review the board’s rules and procedures.

Bartlett also made a reference to changing how the board’s appointments are placed on the agenda.

Spitzer said it was an honor to serve as chair and noted progress on a variety of fronts over the past year, including: Buying property for the county’s first year-round homeless shelter and purchase of the shuttered Santa Ana bus depot for homeless services; approval of an ethics commission ballot measure; increased oversight of law enforcement through the Office of Independent Review; and successful negotiation of a new contract with the county’s main employees union.

“I really wanted a team spirit this year,” he said, noting efforts to honor county employees and key community members. “I hope the next chair and vice chair will continue that.”

Visibly emotional, Spitzer reflected on the past year in the context of his 25 years in public office. “This was the best year of my career. Really awesome, and I’m just so appreciative,” he said.

Supervisor Andrew Do had warm words for Spitzer about his leadership on the board.

“You have achieved everything that you set out to do,” Do told him. “You bring passion, knowledge, wisdom to your position.”

Bartlett is the first female board chair since Janet Nguyen held the post in 2010.

She concluded her comments by emphasizing the opportunities that lie ahead through working together as a board and with all of the county employees.

“I just know that collectively, the five of us, working with the 18,000 employees of the county,” are “really positioned” to do great things, she said.

Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. You can contact him at

  • Shirley L. Grindle

    Mrs. Bartlett is a “breath of fresh air” – not tied in to the behind the scenes politicos and I am sure she will be an honest, ethical and fair chairman. She has big footsteps to follow as I believe Todd Spitzer showed exemplary abilities as Chairman. Leading some very contentious meetings in an even-handed way.

    • LFOldTimer

      Shirley, I didn’t witness anything “exemplary” from the BoS last year. I saw “fair” at best. So I must have missed whatever you saw. Could you name a few of those “exemplary abilities” for clarification? Thanks in advance.

      • Shirley L. Grindle

        Was talking solely about Spitzer’s ability to chair the meetings.

        • LFOldTimer

          Well, he’s been in politics for 25 years. He should know how to run a meeting by this time. But personally I don’t really care about Robert’s Rules of Order. I care about the creation of cost efficient programs that benefit the taxpayers and the elimination of ineffective programs that are a cost burden and hinderance to the taxpayers. What I saw last year was the expansion of ineffective programs and the creation of cost inefficient programs of dubious value to the taxpayers. That’s not good government. Anyone with practice can open and adjourn a meeting. But it takes real skill to run an effective and efficient government. I just didn’t see that.
          And if you think Bartlett is not tied into the behind the scenes politicos and will not act in her own political self-interest as Chair, I think you might be in for a big surprise. Do you stay current on her voting habits and where her support goes?

  • Jacki Livingston

    When Bartlett was elected to the Board, I, and a federal investigator, both emailed and wrote to the lady, asking her to take a look at the situation that was, and still is, going on in Orange County with sleazy nursing home operators who have been embezzling from the taxpayers, abusing patients, stealing patient trust accounts and overcharging for substandard care, care so bad that patients were killed by the gross negligence and the nursing homes quietly settled a class action lawsuit. They have been doing so with the aid and assistance of high ranking supervisors at SSA and the Public Guardian, and it has been going on for over six years. This is not an unfounded, crazy, left field accusation, this is well documented, and employees have been harassed and forced out, for refusing to sweep it under the rug. I pleaded, in writing, for her to just hear it out, not just me, but to look at the documents. She never responded to me, and allegedly told the others that she would “defer to those more in the know”, meaning Spitzer, Nelson and the rest of the dirty dogs already involved. So, puh-leeze, excuse me if I am not keen on her “leadership” abilities. She is just one more woman in the OC being used for the pleasure of males in the old boys club, and I think we all know what that means.

  • Supervisor Bartlett will do no one a favor by continuing to push for a single monolithic large shelter for OC, serving an area of 1000 square miles and 18 different cities. This insures poor service and high kill rates regardless of how new and shiny the shelter is. What needs to be done is to create 3 shelters (North, Central, South) where service will be better, more volunteers will be attracted to help, and smaller numbers will mean lower kill rates.

    • LFOldTimer

      Yep. That one’s a no-brainer. Orange is the only County in the State with a population of more than 500,000 that has only one county animal shelter. And that fact was reported by our Grand Jury. Not a fact to be proud of. And the initiation fee (advanced deposit) to stay with OCAC once (if) the shelter is built will be in the million’s of dollars for some cities. LA County and San Diego County never charged their cities an advanced deposit when they built new shelters. (San Diego has 3 shelters. LA has 7 shelters). But, of course, LA and San Diego offer quality animal services so they don’t have to financially extort their cities through legal means to remain with their programs. The County of Orange does. Bartlett won’t protect the People. She’ll protect the County executives who gouge the People and provide lousy services to boot. Watch and learn.

  • LFOldTimer

    If Bartlett actually “leads” I have to be honest…. I’ll be shocked. But if I detect a sense of leadership I’m a fair person and I’ll acknowledge it. Personally, I believe Bartlett was born to follow. If 2015 was truly Spitzer’s best year of his political career that’s not saying a whole lot for his last 24. He did a fair job. I think Spitzer possesses some leadership qualities. But some of the stuff that occurred beneath his Chair watch under his tenure was remarkably ridiculous.

    • David Zenger

      Biggest accomplishment of 2015 was bringing a loaded gun into a restaurant, frisking and cuffing an allegedly annoying dude.

      Oh, yeah, and saving Karma the Wonder Wolf Dog for the evening news.

      Team spirit? Translation: I couldn’t get two other votes to keep me in charge.

      • LFOldTimer

        I realize that dogs don’t play politics but if Karma only knew how human political expedience saved her life in the OC – she would trot down to the nearest Registrar of Voters and become a lifelong member of the Republican Party. I hope Karma keeps a safe distance away from those pure-bred wolves at that farm in North Carolina but at least she escaped the human predators at OCAC. That was no small task. God didn’t give dogs the 10 lives that he gave to cats.

    • KenCoop

      The rest of us will be more shocked if you don’t whine about it.

      • LFOldTimer

        Ed Norton’s back. Moose Lodge closed today, Ed? You probably accused people of whining when they were relegated to separate drinking fountains. Say hi to Ralph and Alice for us.