Documented by Kristina Mansfield
Here’s what you need to know
- The Madera County Supervisors approved amendments to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Hiring Bonus Program. The amendments include an additional $5,000 incentive for lateral recruits in deputy sheriff and public safety dispatcher classifications, bringing the total incentive to $15,000. Additionally, the program will offer up to $15,000 for new and lateral correctional officer recruits.
- Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) Senior Vice President Craig Ferguson presented its strategic plan to the board, outlining the group’s state and federal advocacy work on behalf of Madera County.
- The board approved (5-0) weekly $125,000 payments to Madera Community Hospital beginning on Nov. 3, 2023 and ending on Dec. 1, 2023.
- How many sheriff’s deputies in Madera County refer other members of their friend groups to become sheriff’s too? Given the problems with shadow gangs seen in neighboring counties to the north and south, does this new policy take the human resources trends seen in other sheriff departments into consideration?
- Does the Fire Department live stream its workshops?
The regular meeting for the Madera County Board of Supervisors took place on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, at 9 a.m. in Supervisors Chambers at 200 West 4th St. in Madera. It was available via Zoom and open to members of the public to attend in person.
According to its website, the Board of Supervisors is the legislative and executive governing body of Madera County government. Within the limits prescribed by state law, the Board enacts ordinances and rules, determines county policy, supervises the activities of county departments, adopts an annual budget and fixes salaries. One supervisor is elected from each of the five supervisorial districts of the county.
The board meets at 9 a.m. the first three Tuesdays of each month (and occasionally Mondays) in the Board Chambers of the County Government Center in Madera. The public is invited to attend and participate and can do so in several ways. Detailed instructions on how to do so are available on each agenda, which are made available both online and in print 72 hours prior to the meeting.
Madera County Board of Supervisors members present:
Chair David Rogers, District 2
Chair Pro Tem Robert Poythress, District 3
Jordan Wamhoff, District 1
Leticia Gonzalez, District 4
Robert Macaulay, District 5
CALL TO ORDER:
Rogers called the meeting to order at 9 a.m.
1. Additions to the Agenda:
- There were no additions to the agenda.
2. Closed Session:
- The closed session agenda listed six items; however there were no labor negotiation updates and as such Item 2a was not read into the record.
Item 2-E: Brickyard Business Park Association, Inc. v. County of Madera (County of Madera Superior Court Case Number MCV088459)
- On a motion by Macaulay, the board voted in favor (5-0) to approve an agreement for defense and indemnification between itself and Prosperous Terra, LLC.
OPEN AND CLOSE THE MEETING IN MEMORY OF:
The board returned from closed session and Rogers called the public session of the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
The meeting was opened and closed in memory of Carmen Lopez Flores (Feb. 2, 1923 – Oct. 10, 2023), a beloved waitress at local Italian restaurant Lucca’s; Madera High School’s Douglas “Coach” Adams (Jan. 6, 1955 – Oct. 12, 2023) and Geronimo Barragan Fernandez Sr (May 27, 1935 – Oct. 12, 2023), whose son works for the county.
3. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance:
A local pastor gave the invocation. Ryan McWherter, executive director of the Madera County Food Bank, led the Pledge of Allegiance.
4. Public Comment:
Per the agenda packet, the first 15 minutes of each meeting are set aside for members of the public to address the board on any matter not on the agenda.
- Madera County Chief Probation Officer Chris Childers and Madera County District Attorney Sally Moreno appeared to invite the board to the 13th Annual Halloween Skele-Bration event Oct. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the new Madera County Justice Center.
- A resident who did not give his name requested the board consider adding a cannabis ordinance to the unincorporated county lands. “I am here representing a group of farmers and businessmen today, and we would like you guys to consider adding a cannabis ordinance to the unincorporated county lands,” he said. “The farmers in this county have explored decisions to reuse their land in multiple ways and they want to have cannabis as a discussion. They also want to be able to involve outside-of-the-county businesses that want to further their footprint inside the county. We think a discussion should be started now. Nobody is trying to rush a framework here, these are local businessmen that want to explore options with law enforcement and community feedback.”
- Gonzalez presented a certificate of recognition to Monica Bravo of the Latinos Madera Club for her work with the Madera County Food Bank in setting up a distribution point in the Parksdale area.
5. Consent Calendar:
Macaulay commended the Sheriff’s Office for its work on the Community Wildfire Protection Plan. “This is important for the community up in eastern Madera County for a number of reasons, and this document will help us move forward with a number of grant opportunities,” he said.
6. Discussion Items:
Item 6-A: Presentation by Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) of the Strategic Plan
- Craig Ferguson, Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) senior vice president, presented its strategic plan.
- The RCRC was formed in 1972 to advocate and lobby for people in rural areas. “Politically, the rural counties don’t have much of a voice of their own,” Ferguson said, noting the agency’s key areas of work focus on “equitable access (broadband, housing, health services), impactful advocacy (state and federal, innovative approaches, regulatory engagement), healthy communities (forest resiliency and wildfire, water resiliency, infrastructure and economic development) and operational excellence (human resources, fiscal health, technology).”
- Areas of state advocacy include forest health/wildfire, CARE Court, water/drought, broadband, housing, social services and California Public Utilities Commission. Areas of federal advocacy include forest health/wildfire, water/drought, infrastructure and the Farm Bill. “It’s the premier advocate and innovative service provider for rural counties in California,” said Ferguson.
- Ferguson gave an overview of its affiliates, including, Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA): Helps people who qualify to buy a home but don’t have the money for a down payment get money for a down payment. Purchase a primary residence with little to no money out of pocket, National Homebuyers Fund (NHF), the Assist-to-Own Program, Golden State Connect Authority, Rural Alliance Inc. (RAI), Golden State Natural Resources and Environmental Services Joint Powers Authority (ESJPA).
- Rogers and Poythress have both previously sat on the board of the RCRC.
- Ferguson also mentioned human trafficking was an issue in rural California. “Who would have thought it,” he said. “We’re able to partner with local nonprofits and teach the kids about human trafficking. What I’ve learned is that it’s not a white van showing up, it’s a guy that looks like me. It’s not what you think it is.” Rogers agreed. “It’s very prevalent,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands of kids can be victimized in this matter.”
Item 6-B: Discussion and direction to staff to make weekly payments of $125,000 to Madera Community Hospital, beginning on Nov. 3, 2023. and ending on Dec. 1, 2023, not to exceed a total amount of $625,000.
- The board approved weekly $125,000 payments to Madera Community Hospital beginning on Nov. 3, 2023 and ending on Dec. 1, 2023.
- Joel Bugay, deputy county administrative officer-finance, presented. There were no comments from the board or the public. Wamhoff motioned and Poythress seconded. Vote passed (5-0).
- The three conditions limit the funding to expenses necessary for preserving the license and the hospital and not claims against the hospital; the county must be in communications with each of the hospital representatives, the creditor’s committee and Saint Agnes (Trinity Health), confirming that the payment of operating costs will ensure that the facility is kept in operating condition; the county receives confirmation that the Distressed Hospital Loan Program Bridge Loan has not yet been received.
Item 6-C: Discussion and consideration of entering into an agreement with Cal Poly Corp. for educational and training activities for a workshop with cooperation from CAL Fire at Vista Del Rio and authorize the chairman to sign.
- Cal Poly University, through its Swanton Pacific Ranch property and in cooperation with Cal Fire, will host a four-hour workshop Nov. 1, 2023, to instruct approximately 30 participants on vegetation management and fuels reduction. Sebastian Cordier, Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit Environmental Scientist for Cal Fire and Brian Mattos, Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit Forester for Cal Fire, will oversee the training. Madera County is the owner of property known as Vista Del Rio located near the southwest corner of Highway 49 and Vista Del Rio Drive in eastern Madera County.
- Macaulay wanted to thank Cal Fire. “The fact that students from Cal Poly want to come out here and see what we’re doing is impressive.”
- Poythress moved to approve; the motion passed 5-0.
Item 6-D: Discussion and consideration of approval to amend the Madera County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Hiring Bonus Program.
- The board approved amendments to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Hiring Bonus Program. The amendments include an additional $5,000 incentive for lateral recruits in deputy sheriff and public safety dispatcher classifications, bringing the total incentive to $15,000. Additionally, the program will offer up to $15,000 for new and lateral correctional officer recruits.
- Roman Noriega, director of Human Resources, presented. He said the amendments were made to become more competitive with neighboring agencies. Those hired under the program must agree to a three-year employment commitment, he said. Eligible classifications for the program are correctional officer, deputy sheriff and public safety dispatcher.
- Macaulay asked for an update on the Item in one year to see how the program is working and said he would like to reevaluate it at that time. Noriega agreed and said he would add it to the calendar.
- Macaulay’s motion passed 5-0.
7. Pending Legislation
8. Supervisors & Staff Reports
Poythress: Said he had a meeting with the RCRC Insurance Committee…”It sounds like they’re coming up with some ways to reduce costs, but homeowners are going to have to take some actions in terms of home hardening. It’s going to provide some relief.”
Wamhoff: Last Wednesday he attended the Peking Ranch Trust signing, where they were bringing 400 acres of federal land back into the trust. The Coffee and Conversation at the Madera Ranchos Library has been postponed.
Gonzalez: Planning to attend the District Attorney and Probation’s Halloween event on Friday.
The meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m. The Madera County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet again on Oct. 24 for a special meeting. Its next regular meeting will be on Nov. 7.
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