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Bradley likely to remain out of loop

Greg Risling

John Upton skirts the subject.

Walt Shultz doesn’t have a reason.

Mark Nielsen has no comment.



Ray Nutting believes everyone should serve at least one term.

Most of the board supervisors in El Dorado County don’t like answering questions about why fellow elected official Sam Bradley hasn’t served as board chairman in his five-year tenure. At Tuesday’s meeting in Placerville, the board will nominate a new chairman for 1998. And chances are it won’t be Bradley.



The chairman is normally the spokesperson for the board, who signs ordinances and runs the weekly meetings. The post is usually rotated among the supervisors, giving everyone an equal chance. In the last several years that hasn’t been the case in El Dorado County, where Bradley has indirectly been punished for his views on growth and water issues and essentially been deemed the odd man out. A large percentage of the board-approved items result in Bradley casting the sole opposing vote.

Bradley has been tagged as a no-growth proponent in El Dorado County because of his support of Measure K, a slow-growth initiative. He said he is only representing his constituents but some supervisors believe Bradley is a loose cannon on a smooth-sailing ship. Since the board chairman has the final say on agenda items, other sources think Bradley will skew the agenda to his liking.

“It’s a privilege to serve as a county supervisor,” Bradley said. “If I serve as board chairman or not, I still have a vote.”

In El Dorado County, it is standard protocol to replace the chairman with the first vice-chair of the preceding year. The five-member board deviated from that procedure in 1995 when it appeared that Bradley, serving as first vice-chair, would be nominated as the chair. No such luck. In a 3-2 vote, Nielsen was named chairman.

“They chose not to go with Sam (Bradley),” said Nutting, who also cast a dissenting vote to Nielsen’s appointment. “We changed the progression of how to vote. Usually it would be the first-vice chair. Now we can pick any supervisor.”

Leaving Bradley out of the rotation, Upton would be next up to bat. In 1994, he served as chairman. In 1996, it was Nutting. Last year, District 4 representative Walt Shultz was the man.

“I like to see leadership exhibited from someone who I vote for as chairman,” Shultz said. “I don’t like a rotating system because you might have someone who doesn’t want the position.”

Upton expects that he will be selected as this year’s chairman at Tuesday’s meeting. Upton served as first-vice chair in 1997. When asked if he would vote for Bradley this time, Upton said he would not.

“It goes back to a lot of stuff I really don’t want to get into,” he remarked.

None of the supervisors like reminiscing about their past decisions when it involves the District 1 supervisor- including Bradley himself. It has been nearly one year to the date when Bradley was suspiciously left off of all the county-appointed boards or commissions. Bradley was eventually reinstated to two positions. The 1996-97 grand jury investigated the claim that two or more supervisors had plotted to boot Bradley from the commissions but the grand jury couldn’t substantiate the allegation.

Board supervisors do not have to give an explanation why they nominate another for chairman. The seemingly apparent majority that stands against Bradley lingers on, although the supervisors would like to put the past behind them.

“Everybody should serve one term while they are on the board,” Nutting said. “Every district should be represented.”


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