WE MENTIONED a few days ago that the Supes had actually created an ad hoc committee to prepare “Policies and procedures for placing items on BOS Agenda.” The obvious reason for such a committee was in reaction to Supervisor Williams who tries to put real issues on the agenda as if he was a Supervisor or something. CEO Angelo is assumed to be behind this poorly concealed attempt regain control of HER agenda by trying to force board members to go through some silly rigmarole before they can even bring anything up. As we noted previously, there should be no restrictions on Board members’ placing items on an agenda. If an agenda item is a problem for one reason or another they can simply continue it to a later date, or vote to not discuss it as they do now or (highly unlikely) County Counsel can simply point out any legal angle.
OBVIOUSLY, that particular ad hoc committee, like most of the other ad hoc committees, hasn’t produced anything. So on Tuesday, Board Chair John Haschak re-introduced the “Williams problem” discussion in a different form: Limit the number of hours that County staff can expend responding to Board questions. Apparently, County staff, especially those working on the Covid response, don’t like having their labors interrupted by upstart questions from Supervisors, especially Williams. It’s such a problem — according to Haschak anyway — that staff can’t even manage an occasional “I’m busy at the moment, I’ll get back to you later.” It’s also insulting to Supervisors — who already bend over backward to avoid over-taxing the poor overworked top staff — who, Haschak assumes, are too dumb to realize that some of their questions might require staff time to respond to and therefore make impossible demands on staff. When Williams simply asked to hear from staff about whether they thought there was a problem, CEO Angelo piped up and said she’d settle for limiting Supervisors to one hour of staff time a week each, especially staff involved in Covid response. Nobody bothered to notice that the half-hour wasted on this entirely pointless discussion used up several staff hours itself. In the end, Haschak proclaimed that it was “the general consensus of the Board” to do as Angelo requested. The upshot: Angelo now has yet another arrow in her quiver to help contain Williams: “I’m sorry Supervisor, but you’ve used up your staff time quota for the week. Maybe next week if I feel like it.”
PS. Haschak never mentioned the thousands of staff hours that dozens of staffers spend sitting idle in meetings mostly just waiting to be asked to comment or listen to CEO Angelo, not doing any “work” at all, much less covid work. At last count a couple of weeks ago, the County said they had held nearly 3800 virtual meetings taking up almost 11,000 hours of meeting time with a total of about 20,000 “participants” — about 350 people averaging 57 participants per meeting (208 of the 350 were “active users”). This enormous waste of staff time is ok, but Williams or some other supervisor asking for a little staff time after obviously considering their questions in advance is a problem?