As required in the Charter of the County of San Bernardino, during the first meeting of the new year, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors will choose their new chairperson and vice-chairperson for a two-year term. Insiders say that Third District Supervisor James Ramos is the frontrunner for the top spot.
The Charter spells it out in Article 1, Sections 4 and 5, where the Chairman is also deemed to be the general executive agent”:
SECTION 4. At the first regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors after noon of the first day of January following an election of supervisors, the Board shall elect one of its members as Chairman of the Board to serve until noon of the first Monday after the first day in January two years thereafter.
SECTION 5. The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors shall be the general executive agent of the Board. It shall be his duty, subject to the regulation and control by the Board, to exercise general supervision over the official conduct of all County officers and officers of all districts and other subdivisions of the County charged with the assessment, collection, safekeeping, management, or disbursement of public revenue; also over all County institutions, buildings and property. He shall report to the Board from time to time with such recommendations as he shall deem proper. He shall devote his entire time during usual office hours to the duties of his office. He shall keep an office in the rooms or rooms where the Board usually meets, and shall be in attendance at such office during usual office hours, except when elsewhere engaged in the performance of his official duties.
Under normal circumstances, the current vice-chairperson is usually, but not always, elevated to the chairmanship. However, this term the vice-chairperson is Supervisor Gary Ovitt, who officially leaves office Dec. 1, 2014.
That leaves Supervisor Josie Gonzales, who served as chairperson last term; Supervisor Janice Rutherford, the current chairperson; and Supervisor Robert Lovingood, who was elected to office at the same time as Ramos two years ago. Supervisor-elect Curt Hagman, who is replacing Ovitt, will have only one month under his belt as a county supervisor when the election takes place in January.
Although it is conceivable Lovingood could be voted in as chair, Ramos is thought to have more support. Lovingood is expected to be vice-chairperson, if he wants the position.
The situation opens up a lot of “what ifs” in terms of what this could mean two years from now. The board could find itself in the very same predicament as there is expected to be a strong campaign to oust Lovingood from his First District seat when he is up for election in June 2016.
Lovingood has a dismal record of service in the First District during his first two years. Many consider his staff to be “useless” and “unqualified” for the positions they hold. Many business persons are frustrated at how impossible it is to get anything done in the First District due to his staff members’ inability to grasp even the simplest of projects.
Some insiders feel he will be easily beat by a strong city council candidate who actually understands how government works and why it exists. Lovingood, himself, appears to residents to be more dedicated to running his personal business than tending to the affairs of the First District.
Ramos, on the other hand, has built a good rapport with many within the communities he serves. Additionally, he has more experience in government, having served on boards prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors. He also has a professional staff.
The selection takes place at 10 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2014 during the regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors. The meetings are held at County Government Center, 385 North Arrowhead Avenue, San Bernardino, Calif., on the first floor in the hearing chambers. They can also be viewed via the Internet at this link.