County charter ready for final decisions |

County charter ready for final decisions

Greg Risling

After three months of meetings in various communities, a committee charged with analyzing the El Dorado County charter will decide whether any recommendations should be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors.

The charter review committee will meet Thursday at 2 p.m. in Placerville to make its final decision on any future additions to the local version of the constitution.

The charter was adopted in 1994 and outlines the powers and duties of elected officials and the positions they occupy. The Board of Supervisors will have the last say about the charter amendments and will be put on an election ballot if they receive board approval. A simple majority is needed in order to ratify the amendments.

Some of the suggestions that will be reviewed at Thursday’s meeting include:

— publish the annual grand jury report in local newspapers.

— require a code of ethics for the Board of Supervisors.

— prohibit the board from discussing county business in closed session.

— televise board meetings on a local cable access channel.

— add language that limits the “interference” of board members in the operations of county departments by requiring a majority action by the board on any request for service that needs more than one hour of staff time to respond.

Although there have been many good ideas presented to the committee, the community meetings were not well-attended.

“It was disappointing to see such low attendance,” said Julia Gibbs, committee member representing District 1. “It was the public’s chance to add input into the democratic process. They have one more chance.”

With the frequent perception of mistrust and corruption seeping through county government, the charter is one of the public’s tools to change the system. District 2 member Hank Yostmeyer said he wasn’t sure the public was notified the charter meetings were being held and added he will make a motion on Thursday to continue the public discussions.

“Point blank, these meetings were one-sided,” Yostmeyer said. “The window of opportunity should be expanded. If people are so willing to express their opinions and sometimes distrust of local government, they should do it in an open forum.”

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