|Bart and a pal out sheep shearing|
The apparently humorless D.A. did not realize that this is how they get their party done over there at the COG.
Be that as it may, at $190,000 per year it is obvious that when it comes to the COG greasing big wheels like its Executive Directors, the taxpayer's dime is no object. Battery recycling campaigns have never had such well-financed leadership.
But despite the strong qualifications of our former Mayor, the SGVCOG has now turned elsewhere for its Executive Director leadership. This news from the Inland Empire's own, the San Bernardino Sun (click here):
San Bernardino's acting City Manager chosen to lead San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments: Acting City Manager Andrea Travis-Miller, credited with discovering many of the problems that led the city to file for bankruptcy and guiding the city through that process, has accepted a position as executive director of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.
Travis-Miller confirmed Wednesday that she's planning to take the job, but the full board of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments must approve the decision.
If approved, Travis-Miller would go from running a city government that serves 200,000 people to leading an agency responsible for longterm planning in a valley of 2 million residents in 31 cities.
"I think there is a lot of interesting opportunities there," she said during a brief phone interview. "And it's in L.A. County."
Certainly we can understand Andrea wanting to get out of San Bernardino County, recognized throughout the region as the SCAG housing infested economic wasteland that it is. And it is good she discovered that the city where she had been working, San Bernardino, is bankrupt. Big time score there. I'm certain that must have been a well-disguised secret known only to those who were actually paying attention. Which, given the locale, couldn't have been very many.
But why was Andrea chosen over Battlin' Bart and whoever all those other guys were? Let's go back to The Sun article for an important clue.
Travis-Miller's ability to manage a city under the most stressful financial conditions, plus her expertise in employment law, were two reasons why she was picked from a field of about 15 candidates, according to sources at the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.
The full 30-member governing board of the San Gabriel Valley group will meet on Jan. 17 to confirm the choice of the six-member Executive Director Recruitment Ad Hoc Committee. The full board is scheduled to convene in closed session to learn about the recommended candidate, and then take an up-or-down vote in open session, according to sources familiar with the process.
If approved, Travis-Miller will replace the agency's interim executive director, Fran DeLach, the former city manager of Covina and Azusa.
What is interesting is that Travis-Miller has been extended an offer, yet the entire Governing Board has not even met to consider her nomination. The problem here being that the COG's helpful Executive Director Recruitment Ad Hoc Committee had "decided," and all on its own, to extend Andrea an offer, fully confident that the docile Board will obediently ratify their big surprise choice when the time comes. After all, it has already been in the newspapers.
Ad hoc committees (which are exempt from the Brown Act), are supposed to only act in an advisory capacity. Something that doesn't normally include going public with $190k taxpayer funded job offers.
And who exactly is on this "ad hoc committee" you ask? Barbara "710 Tunnel" Messina, Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, Angel Carrillo from Azusa, Denis Berlone from San Dimas, Kevin Stapleton of Covina and Fernando Vizcarra from Temple City. A group of folks that pretty much comprised the die-hard and to the bitter end Nick Conway forever faction at the COG.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune published an interesting article last December titled, "San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments' committee holds secret meeting to begin executive director process" (click here). These are some of the insights to be found there:
Gil Aguirre, an open government advocate from San Dimas who sued the COG and was given $50,000 in attorneys fees after the board admitted violating the Ralph M. Brown Act, says he is monitoring the latest situation. He said he believes the Ad Hoc Committee is going beyond the bounds of the Brown Act, which makes an exception for such committees.
"While an ad hoc committee can be exempt from open meeting requirements under specific circumstances, with everything that's been going on at the COG, you would think they would want to be transparent," Aguirre said.
"I think they are going far beyond the scope of what an ad hoc committee is designed to do. This ad hoc committee is secretly picking the next COG executive director."
As is usually the case, Gil's prediction here has turned out to be right on the money.
COG board member and Claremont councilman Sam Pedroza said Thursday the entire board should be handed the short list and given a chance to recommend a candidate back to the Ad Hoc Committee. Then the decision should be returned to the governing board.
"I would expect the five candidates would go before the Executive Committee and the whole governing board," Pedroza said. "Why would we be making decisions in a vacuum?"
Messina defended the closed process. "This is not something that you would bring in the public, to pick an executive director," she said, adding: "The final decision rests with the whole board."
Of course the final decision "rests with the whole board," because otherwise it would be a clear violation of the Brown Act. But since Messina's ad hoc committee has now already made the job offer to Andrea Travis-Miller, and all by themselves, it certainly appears that nothing has gone before the whole Board.
The decision has already been made, and it was done in private by the same small clique that has been calling the shots at the COG for years.
Somebody needs to call the District Attorney. And not just to see how Nick is doing.