Upton gets statwide post
El Dorado County Supervisor John Upton took a new oath Thursday night.
With plans to “reinvent” local government and educate more people about the role of counties, Upton was elected president of the California State Association of Counties during the association’s 103rd annual meeting in San Mateo County.
Upton has been waiting in the wings, serving as CSAC’s first vice-president in 1997. He has sat on various subcommittees while in office and represented 26 of the state’s rural counties. To say the least, Upton is looking forward to his term.
“The next year will present many challenges for counties throughout California,” he said. “Through this association, we need to build on the progress we have made during the past year and continue seeking new ways to fund the services that our citizens need.”
The Fifth District supervisor has taken on a hearty plate-full of issues since coming on board to the state organization. He has lobbied for realigning trial court funding and supported an alliance that reverses roughly $2.6 billion in annual property taxes back to local jurisdictions.
Upton believes that CSAC has played an integral role in changing state legislation and he will continue that effort in different arenas such as welfare reform and transportation. Upton would also like to build better partnerships between county supervisors and members of Congress to facilitate further communication on pending legislative issues.
CSAC is a nonprofit organization comprised of leaders from the state’s 58 counties. Members appear in front of the state Legislature and Congress on issues that have a significant effect on county government. Approximately 350 county officials from around the state have descended upon the Bay Area this week to talk about the issues that shape local and state policies.
CSAC is supported solely from dues paid by the counties. El Dorado contributed $20,500 to CSAC’s pot for 1997 membership. Part of the fees are based on population figures and according to David Liebler, CSAC’s director of public affairs, the money helps pay for legislative analysts who follow state and federal bills.
“The primary goal of CSAC is to invest in issues that are important to county government,” he said. “CSAC represents the voice of all the counties and it’s hard to have more of a say just because you’re from a larger county.”
Upton stated it is vital to have county supervisors follow state affairs through the association.
“A lot of damage can be done if counties aren’t being represented at the other levels,” he said. “We can do the good and stop the bad.”
CSAC rotates the presidency in three-year cycles by electing officials from a rural, suburban and urban area. San Bernardino County Supervisor Jerry Eaves (suburban) will replace Upton at the first vice president post.
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