Supervisors ask judge to decide Nutting’s future on board
May 22, 2014
El Dorado County Supervisors are asking the judge overseeing a criminal case against Supervisor Ray Nutting to determine if Nutting should be suspended or removed from the board for his convictions.
Meeting in closed session Tuesday, supervisors decided to ask the judge to make a decision.
Nutting was found not guilty one week ago on three felony charges. The charges alleged that he filed falsified documents, committed perjury and approved conflict-of-interest contracts.
The jury was hung on a fourth felony charge of filing a false document. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is considering if it will retry Nutting on that charge.
Nutting was, however, convicted on a string of government code misdemeanors, including charges that he received nearly $60,000 in illegal, undocumented loans from two county employees and an illegal, undocumented loan from a construction contractor who does business with El Dorado County. Nutting used the money from the loans to post bail after being arrested on the felony charges.
In their closed session, supervisors questioned whether Nutting should be suspended or removed from the board now that he has been convicted of the government code misdemeanors.
With Nutting facing a June 6 sentencing hearing before Judge Timothy Buckley, the supervisors are asking the judge to offer his opinion on the question, arguing they are unclear on the law and that it’s not in their authority to unseat an elected official.
“There seems to be speculation or some sort of word out there that somehow or another the board of supervisors could by vote unseat Supervisor Nutting because of the nature of the misdemeanors,” District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago said.
“For us it was decided that no, the board of supervisors will maintain a neutral position. What we are saying is, ‘Judge, you need to decide, to tell us, to inform us as to whether or not this position is vacated or we need to call for an election, and we want your opinion on certain code sections and how they relate to Supervisor Nutting,” Santiago said.
Supervisors opted to not suspend Nutting from the board in part to not prejudice Judge Buckley, Santiago said. They also agreed to table county business until after Nutting’s sentencing, so as to not take any actions that could be potentially challenged if he participated.