Based on experience and qualifications, it appears that the Supervisors have made a good choice in hiring Ms. Kristin Nevedal of Garberville, ground zero for the Northcoast's industry, as Mendo’s new Cannabis Program Manager.
The County has not issued an official presser, but Supervisor Williams wrote on facebook:
“I’m pleased by the unanimous Board of Supervisors support for hiring Kristin Nevedal as our next Mendocino County Cannabis Program Manager. Eyes wide open for recruitment, I spotted her engagement at a state-level committee meeting. In subsequent conversation, I gained confidence from Kristin’s sagacious awareness of our local ordinance challenges coupled with vast state policy literacy. She will join us as a direct report to the Board of Supervisors, a somewhat unorthodox arrangement, but suited given the eventuality of the program. The dual and largely disjointed state license / county permit dynamic is one of the most complex technical problems the county faces. Kristin joins as the looming State sunset of (temporary) provisional licenses jeopardizes $5.5 Million annual county revenue, environmental and neighborhood protection. I expect she will hit the ground running and accelerate both application processing and expectation-setting outreach. Subset of Kristin’s pertinent background:
Governor Appointee, Bureau of Cannabis Control, Cannabis Advisory Committee
• Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Cultivation
• Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Laboratory Testing
• Member of the Microbusiness Subcommittee
• Member of the Year End Report Subcommittee Board Member, California Cannabis Industry Association Co-Founder & Executive Director, International Cannabis Farmers Association Director Of Education,
The Emerald Cup Co-Founder & Vice President,
Humboldt Growers Association Board Member,
Interim Executive Director & Senior Advisor,
Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform”
Supervisor Williams notes that Ms. Nevedal will be “a direct report to the Board of Supervisors, a somewhat unorthodox arrangement, but suited given the eventuality of the program.”
We have no idea what “the eventuality of the program” means. We doubt that Williams knows either. Whatever it means, it’s hardly a reason for such an “unorthodox arrangement.” To us, it’s worse than “unorthodox,” it’s unworkable.
Imagine yourself working for five different people with varying degrees of knowledge about “your program” who cannot meet or talk among themselves without complying with the Brown Act and who each have political constituencies who don't hesitate to offer their strong ideas about how “your program” ought to work. Oh, and did I mention that the program is a hot mess to begin with?
I had a job something like this once and at the time I used to joke whenever I left the building, “If my boss calls — get his name!” But in my case I really did act almost entirely on my own authority, not my various program manager bosses. When my father was manager of America’s largest ag-co-op, he had the “Challenge” of working for a board made up of people who he bought produce from. It’s a management arrangement that is fraught with problems in the best of circumstances.
Add to this the fact that Ms. Nevedal will have no direct subordinates or staff of her own and will have to have to seek staffing from one department head or another, presumably under the authority of the Board, but which in fact will be controlled by CEO Angelo and her Yes, Ma'am chorus. Then you have the accumulated expectations that will be imposed on Ms. Nevedal who seems to have been appointed to do an impossible task under a tight deadline.
We understand that the Supes were probably unhappy with previous cannabis organizational structures. After all we’ve had, what? six cannabis program managers since Prop 64 so far, and each in a different place in the County’s organization — all of them unable to make any headway on permit approvals, provisional or otherwise.
On its face, this “unorthodox arrangement” of five supervisors supervising her seems to be the worst. We agree with Williams that Ms. Nevedal seems quite knowledgeable with pot and pot admin and pot regs. But since she’s obviously qualified to do pot admin somewhere other than Mendo, and people like her are in demand both as government workers and consultants in the pot legalization biz, we doubt Ms. Nevedal will last very long in Mendo. If she can untangle the Mendo mess she will be considered a miracle worker. The Supes need to rethink this. They’ll never ask us, of course, but we’d be happy to suggest a more conventional management arrangement.
SUPES BRIEFS, for Tuesday, March 9 meeting.
CEO ANGELO, knowing that her very vague and ill-prepared presentation on what to do with the nearly $23 million in PG&E settlement funds was weak and ill-conceived (despite having months to prepare it), told the Board that it was just a starting point for discussion, no need for everyone to get upset about it’s many flaws and omissions. Lots of written public comment noted correctly that Potter Valley and Redwood Valley which were the areas most affected by the 2017 wildfires which precipitated the PG&E settlement so they should get priority attention. Several other commenters said they supported using the funding for satellite imaging to aid in marijuana enforcement. Supervisor Maureen Mulheren quickly volunteered to hold several town hall meetings in Redwood Valley and Potter Valley to solicit input from the most affected areas which her colleagues supported. Supervisor Glenn McGourty agreed to help. Interim Planning Director Nash Gonzalez asked for almost $3 million in “planning department enhancements” and additional staffing, adding that he thought a satellite imaging program might cost an additional $3 million or so. Supervisor Ted Williams, always on the alert for calling for “Plans” with a capital P, thought the County should first finish the nebulous “strategic plan” before allocating any money. Mulheren said, Maybe, but there are immediate needs in Potter Valley and Redwood Valley that shouldn’t have to wait months or years while the Supes try to come up with a “strategic plan.” (History shows that the County as an organization is simply incapable of any kind of large scale planning over more than a month or two and has never generated anything significant with real planning value.) Supervisor Williams thought some money should be invested in the Emergency Medical Response in the County and propose some ideas along that line. Transportation Director Howard Dashiell said there were some road projects in the Redwood/Potter Valley area that could use some funding. CEO Angelo agreed to come back to the Board next month with something along the lines discussed.
OUR FAVORITE MOMENT (a minor one, admittedly, but indicative of Mendo’s budgeting process) was when the Board was discussing covid federal and state reimbursements which are still quite fluid and unclear. Apparently the feds will not reimbursement for regular budgeted hours spent on covid but will only reimburse covid-related overtime. Also, many of the county’s departments that are over-budget are saying the main reason was unbudgeted overtime. Accordingly, Supervisor Williams asked the CEO for a report of overtime by department showing each department’s budgeted and actual overtime. CEO Angelo promised that staff would prepare such a report without mentioning a deadline. Of course, this will never happen, especially not in a public meeting. But we’ll stay on top of it and will gladly report it if it does.