Aug. 1, 2023 — Kings County Board of Supervisors

Documented by Josef Sibala

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • The Kings County Board of Supervisors (4-0) approved the first amendment to the agreement with Champions Recovery Alternative Programs Inc. for parenting education services effective Sept. 1, 2023, through Aug. 31, 2024.
  • Bob Ramos from Hanford said the number of prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office has decreased by 50%. Kevin Cook suggested the county follow the example of Tulare County, wherein experienced attorneys are promoted to upper positions and given a raise. 
  • The board (3-1 with District 3 Supervisor Doug Verboon absent) continued to declare a local emergency due to flood water contamination and vector-borne illness caused by recent flooding in Kings County. District 2 Supervisor Richard Valle voted no. Kings County Office of Emergency Services Manager Abraham Valencia added that the state contracted an aerial dispersal of larvicide and adulticide to treat mosquitoes. 
  • Child Support Supervisor Shaka Jones mentioned the Annual Backpack Drive, a partnership with Salvation Army, to distribute school supplies and backpacks for children.

She said the event provided 50 backpacks filled with 141 notebooks, 131 glue sticks, 126 boxes of crayons, 104 boxes of markers, 54 folders, 54 boxes of coloring pencils, and others.

Followup questions:

  • How can the county address floodwater in the Tulare Lake Basin?
  • Will the county engage in negotiations with the prosecutors’ union?
  • How will the county retain 70% of county employees?

The Scene

According to its website, Kings County is a “general law” county, meaning the state constitution and general law determine the county’s governmental structure.

The Board of Supervisors is the governing body for Kings County and many county special districts. Each of the board’s five members is elected in a nonpartisan manner to a four-year term. 

The board sets policies and depends on the county administrator, county officials and department heads to fulfill its wishes. 

The Board of Supervisors has administrative, legislative and quasi-judicial duties and responsibilities prescribed by the state constitution and statutes.

The meeting was held at 9 a.m. in the board chambers at 1400 West Lacey Blvd. in Administration Building No. 1 in Hanford.

Kings County County Board of Supervisors members present:

  • Joe Neves, District 1 (Lemoore and Stratford)
  • Richard Valle, District 2 (Avenal, Corcoran, Home Garden, and Kettleman City)
  • Rusty Robinson, District 4 (Armona and Hanford)
  • Richard Fagundes, District 5 (Hanford and Burris Park)

Kings County County Board of Supervisors members not present:

  • Doug Verboon, District 3 (North Hanford, Island District and North Lemoore)

Others Present:

  • County Administrative Officer Kyria Martinez
  • Public Health Director Rose Mary Rahn
  • Fire Chief Josh Cunningham
  • District Attorney Sarah Hacker
  • Tyler Pepe
  • Cassie Bakker
  • Tiffany Diaz
  • Monica Connor
  • Melissa Kevorkian
  • Kristi Herrera
  • Melissa Scheffel
  • Christine Olvera
  • Jay Wood
  • Chris Narez
  • Eldrick W. 
  • Chanda Jackson
  • Eli Wiseman
  • Sarah Poots
  • John Bsmajian Criscom
  • David Long
  • Heather Silva
  • Kristi Lee
  • Atonya Moore
  • N. Rencher
  • Bob Ramos
  • Barbara Castle
  • Mary Anne Bradfield
  • Bobby Warton
  • Dustin Ference
  • Kimber Regan
  • Deputy District Attorney Kevin Cook
  • Deputy District Attorney Rigor Mangian
  • Deputy District Attorney Jason Lianides
  • Deputy District Attorney Vicente Reyes
  • Minor’s Advocate/Attorney Randall Harper 
  • Human Resources Director Carolyn Leist
  • Child Services Support Director Mary Wait
  • Department Lead Laura Taylor
  • Supervising Attorney Richard Cleaver
  • Child Services Support Assistant Director Kim Egan
  • Child Support Supervisor Shaka Jones 
  • County Office of Emergency Services Abraham Valencia
  • Behavioral Health Director Lisa Lewis
  • Administrative Analyst Alex Walker
  • Administrative Analyst Matthew Boyet
  • County Counsel Diane Freeman 


A real estate broker, Kimber Regan, said she supports public safety and law enforcement agencies. She mentioned that the agencies are understaffed, making it hard to collect and prosecute the “bad guys” without the funds to do it. She hopes the county avoids giving handouts to the less fortunate.

Ramos from Hanford added that prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office have decreased by 50 percent. He and Deputy District Attorney Kevin Cook urged the county to adopt competitive pay rates to retain District Attorney’s Office staff. 

Cook said that the prosecutors in other nearby counties had been promised less work, flexibility, work-from-home options, and pay. He suggested the county follow the example of Tulare, wherein experienced attorneys were promoted to upper positions and given raises. 

Mangian said that by mid-August, the department will have 10 active prosecutors. He lobbied for retention and recruitment.

Deputy District Attorney Jason Lianides will be leaving the county in September. He said he hopes the county will give better opportunities to potential applicants. He mentioned the current shortage of law students and attorneys in the market.

Deputy District Attorney Vicente Reyes urged the county to attract and hire transplants to establish roots in Kings County. He said that the county “needs to act.”

Minor’s Advocate/Attorney Randall Harper stated that other counties sought out other attorneys. 

Human Resources Director Carolyn Leist said they received two Deputy District Attorney applicants yesterday. She stated reorganization was a priority.

She added that Human Resources is recruiting at Level 1 at the Step 5 rate with a $5,000 retention bonus for the next three years, added to $89,000 annually, which is competitive.

Valle asked Leist whether the issue could be discussed without union negotiations or a meet or confer meeting with the union.

Leist said telework and the summer program had been offered to the prosecutors by the department. She said the $5,000 spread out of the retention bonus had been approved in union negotiations. 

Waite urged considering attorney classification for compensation, bonuses and retention efforts changes. Hacker asked for the cooperation of county administration and the unions to solve the issue of retention and recruitment.

Freeman suggested that the issue be included in a study session on a future date. 

A. The board (4-0) approved the minutes from the meeting of July 25.

In the consent calendar, the board (4-0) unanimously approved items as follows:

A. Human Services Agency (HSA): 

1. The board (4-0) approved the first amendment to the agreement with Champions Recovery Alternative Programs Incorporated for parenting education services effective Sept. 1, 2023, through Aug. 31, 2024. 

According to the agenda packet, the maximum amount of this agreement for the fiscal year 2023-24 is $126,479. The revenue source for this agreement is a combination of dedicated federal funds and realignment. 

HSA proposed extending the current agreement with Champions for parenting education services. The extension of an additional year will allow parenting education services to continue for clients served by HSA. 

The board approved the original agreement with Champions on Jan. 25, 2022. 

The term of the original agreement was for two years, with an option to extend the agreement for an additional three one-year extensions if agreed upon mutually by HSA and Champions.

Parenting education services are available weekly and incorporate flexible hours of operation, including afternoons, evenings and weekends. Parenting services are offered in both English and Spanish.

B. Administration: 

1. The board (4-0) approved the first amendment to the agreement with Vanir Construction Management Incorporated for capital project management services effective Aug. 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. 

According to the agenda packet, the capital project manager will work part time to assist the county in overseeing and managing the above-mentioned capital projects. 

On the county’s behalf, the capital project manager will communicate frequently and instruct various contractors on applicable projects. 

The role of the capital project manager will be to coordinate and manage, as permitted in a part-time role, all aspects of capital projects through completion.

Services under this agreement will be billed at $195 per hour, up to a total amount not to exceed $135,000 total.

Regular agenda items were as follows:

A. Child Support Services 

  1. The board (4-0) adopted a resolution proclaiming Aug. 1-Aug. 31 Child Support Awareness Month in Kings County. 

Waite said that this year’s Child Support Awareness Month theme is “Different Wants, Different Needs, One Shared Goal,” 

It focuses on every co-parent having different wants and needs for their children but all having the same goal to see them thrive. 

Child Support Services strives to provide outcomes suitable for the customers based on their unique situations.

Cleaver said that from 2021 to 2022, Kings County Child Support Services served 17,032 participants, of which 8,748 were children. He said the agency had collected $9 million in child support and $5 million in arrears, of which 50% had a child support order.

Taylor mentioned the agency’s participation in the Positive Affirmations Training for its staff’s productivity. Egan shared about job openings on Government Day.

Jones mentioned the Annual Backpack Drive, a partnership with Salvation Army, to distribute school supplies and backpacks for children.

She said the event provided 50 backpacks filled with 141 notebooks, 131 glue sticks, 126 boxes of crayons, 104 boxes of markers, 54 folders, 54 boxes of coloring pencils and other supplies. 

B. Administration

1. a. The board (3-1) ratified the county health officer’s continuing declaration of a local health emergency due to flood water contamination and vector-borne illness issued on July 27, 2023; 

b. The board (3-1) continued to declare a local emergency due to flood water contamination and vector-borne illness caused by recent flooding in Kings County. Valle voted no.

County Administration Domingo Cruz said that on March 1, 2023, Gov. Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in 47 counties because of the winter storms that struck California beginning in February 2023. 

On March 9, 2023, President Joseph Biden Jr approved a Presidential Emergency Declaration related to the storms and the flooding in the Tulare Lake Basin

The Kings County health officer determined that a significant threat to public health exists due to hazardous waste from flooding, contaminated flood water, the risk of infectious diseases and the potential for vector-borne illnesses

An initial declaration from the county health officer was issued on May 31, and was ratified by the board on June 6. Conditions of floodwater contamination and vector-borne illness continue in Kings County. 

Valle asked whether the resolution was based on potential or current flood water contamination. Rahn said it is based on the potential contamination for high e coli, coliform and fecal content

Valle said he would vote against the item since farmers in his district have told him there is no contamination in the area. Freeman clarified that an emergency could be declared for an imminent threat. 

Valencia added that the public health order allows for resources to the lake to be paid for by federal or state grants. He told farmers that there was no health threat from working around the water. The state contracted an aerial disperse of larvicide and adulticide to treat mosquitoes. Robinson said the flood water would eventually spill over, and business could continue. 

The study session is as follows:

A. Administration 

1. The board received an overview of Kings County’s growth and benefits.

Kyria Martinez said that the county administration and Human Resources had established an employer retention and recruitment committee based on the decision of the board to allocate $6 million from ARPA funds.

The committee meets biweekly and is composed of 10 department heads representing each representative group.

Alex Walker from the Administration Department provided the following info regarding the county.

  • Population: 151,030 
  • Civilian Labor Force: 58,639 (participation rate of S3.6%)
  • Regional Education: Ages 25-64, 15% bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 34.3% nationwide
  • Median Household Income: $61,556
  • Median House Value: $227,400

He added that in the fourth quarter of 2022, employment for Kings County was 51,350. Over the year ending the fourth quarter of 2022, employment increased by 3.8% in the region.

The unemployment rate for Kings County was 8% as of May 2023. 

The regional unemployment rate was higher than the national rate of 3.4%. One year earlier, in May 2022, the unemployment rate in Kings County, California was 6.2%.

The average worker in Kings County, California, earned annual wages of $53,398. as of the fourth quarter of 2022. The region’s average annual wage per worker increased by 2.1% over the preceding four quarters.

For comparison purposes, the nation’s annual average wage was $68,838 as of the fourth quarter of 2022.  

Walker said that the cost of living is lower in Kings County than in the state of California. 

The largest sector is health care and social assistance, employing 8,963 workers. The next largest sectors in the region are agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (7,757 workers) and public administration (6,394).

Over the next year, employment in Kings County is expected to expand by 424 jobs. The fastest-growing sector in the region is expected to be mining. quarrying and oil and gas

extraction with a 2.7% year-over-year rate of growth. 

The strongest forecast by the number of jobs over this period is expected for health care and social assistance (+162 jobs), agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting (+941), and accommodation and food services (+60).

The industry cluster in Kings County with the highest relative concentration is

agricultural with a location quotient of 15.35. This cluster employs 8,039 regional workers with an average wage of $62,911. 

Employment in the agricultural cluster is projected to expand in the region by about 1.2% per year over the next 10 years.

In 2021, the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in Kings County expanded by 2.3% The number follows a growth of 3.9% in 2020. As of 2021, the total GDP in Kings County was $6.5 million. 

Matthew Boyett from Administration mentioned that departments over 10 years old had held the lion’s share of full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. 

For the fiscal year 2023-2024, he recommended a 1670.31 FTE in keeping with the five-year trend of having Human Services maintain 29% to 30% of the county workforce and probation and health with an 8% to 9% mark.

Martinez said that the county has a vacancy rate of 40%. Some 120 employees have worked for 10 years or more. 

Alex Walker from Administration added that Tulare County previously paid the highest salary ranges; however, the Board of Supervisors’ action on July 11 puts Kings in the lead for Deputy Officer and Road Superintendent positions.

He stated that Tulare County has the most employee discount perks of all the counties.

Kings County offers the most paid holidays at full days and one-half day, plus a personal day;

Tulare and Madera both offer 13, with Tulare including a personal day.

Kings County vacation time is competitive and trade-off fewer days per year for a higher maximum accrual of 320 hours. Sick time is consistent with other counties; health, dental, and vision plans are also competitive with other counties.

Deferred compensation and retirement are competitive with plan variations, yet there are tradeoffs in salary and matching contributions.

Walker said that King County employees enjoy the following:

  • Onsite employee health clinic where employees are not required to use sick leave 
  • Holiday closure 3.5 days
  • Wellness blood draw 
  • Employee recognition barbecue
  • Employee of the Quarter
  • Employee Service Awards

Valle asked for information about general fund-funded departments and funding from other sources. Chief Robinson sought for the county to retain 70% of county employees through health benefits.

He said the $100 hourly rate for private attorneys is “double and triple” what the county counsel makes.

Harper advocated to retain county employees if possible. Lewis supported having the board  attract talent and support staff. Cunningham said the county should be conscious of vacancies and the funds to support future employees. 

County District Attorney Sarah Hacker mentioned that Kern County gives attorneys a bonus of $15,000. She and Valle agreed that a lump sum bonus should attract new applicants. However, Freeman cautioned that a lump sum bonus would be discussed in union negotiations. 

Closed session includes the following:

  • Conference with labor negotiator/meet and confer [Govt. Code Section 54957.6] Negotiators: Kyria Martinez, Carolyn Leist, Che Johnson of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore General Unit – CLOCEA  

Supervisor’s Unit – CLOCEA  

Blue Collar – SEIU  

Detention Deputy’s Association  

Firefighter’s Association  

Deputy Sheriff’s Association  

Probation Officer’s Association  

Prosecutor’s Association  

Unrepresented Management  

  • Significant exposure to litigation: (1 Case) [Govt. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2)(e)(1)]  
  • Conference with real property negotiator [Government Code Section 54956.8] Property APNs: 010-310-049-000 010-310-035-000 010-310-052-000 

Agency negotiator: Kyria Martinez 

Negotiation parties: Mark Hong 

Under negotiation: price and terms of payment

The meeting ended at 1 p.m. The next board meeting will be on Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 9 a.m. 

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at with “Correction Request” in the subject line. 

Support our nonprofit journalism.


Your contribution is appreciated.

The Fresno Documenters are a group of local residents who are trained and paid to attend and take notes at local public meetings where officials decide how to spend public money and make important decisions...