One lemonade-fueled night early this year, THC got to wondering precisely what it is that our Supervisors do on a daily basis. After all, with how little progress appears to be made on some of the most pressing issues in our County, it would go to reason that our Supervisors should be working their tails off in order to right the ship.
A busy schedule would also justify the 7% raises they approved for themselves last year, bringing their salary up from roughly $81,600 up to $87,400 each. (For reference, each Supervisors brought home more than $105,000 in total compensation back in 2015.) We’ll leave it to you to make up your own minds, but based on how things have gone in Humboldt over the last few years, we’re anything but convinced they deserved more money.
The good news is that THC took it upon ourselves to request the Supervisors’ daily calendars going back the past two years. Let these documents help inform your own decision about just how much “work” the Supes are doing; here are all of the County’s Supervisors’ calendars from December 29, 2014, through February 5, 2017(ish). Enjoy!
At first glance, you’ll notice that about 40-50% of any Supervisors’ schedule is redacted, which the County justified by referring to the case of Times Mirror Co. v. Superior Court, which basically states that an elected official’s deliberative process could be negatively impacted if the public knew what they were up to. (This is legal shorthand for: elected people don’t want you to know who they are talking to, when they talked or what they talked about. Which is bullshit, but a rant that we’ll save for another day.)
On second glance, you’ll notice that a very significant portion of the calendars that aren’t blacked out are completely white – as in completely blank. As in the Supervisors weren’t doing jack shit in connection with their jobs at those times. Weird, huh? Could have been drinking wine, playing basketball or golfing, bird-watching, playing tetris. Who knows.
From our judgement, Rex Bohn wins the busy-bee award – that guy has a lot on his plate, compared to the others. Of course, there are a lot of pancake breakfasts in there. Whether all of those items are worthwhile is certainly up for debate, but 2nd District’s Supervisor sure packs it in.
We have to give the nod to Rex and Mark Lovelace for generally having the least amount of redaction in their calendar, and overall the busiest schedules. Say what you will about the nearly opposite ideologies these two brought to the Supervisors chambers – it seems like these guys put in the most work, and do it the most transparently. (Did*, in Lovelace’s case.)
Virginia Bass undoubtedly takes the cake for emptiest schedule (which makes us wonder why she didn’t even have time to read a letter she sent on behalf of the County of Humboldt), while Ryan Sundberg sits top of the heap for most redacted calendars in town. Whoever Ryan is meeting with, he sure isn’t keen on us knowing – which is a shame, because then we could figure out who was coaching him to nearly claim two Biggest Asshole Awards in a row.
Good ol’ Estelle comes in at the middle of the pack for amount of work and percentage of shady redactions.
Now, even though the Supervisors were a little too scared to reveal the majority of what they are doing and who they are meeting with, a lot can be gleaned from those blacked-out calendars by reading between the lines. Here are some of our initial thoughts:
- If we can assume that most everything that a Supervisor does in their official capacity is recorded on their calendar, then we would be remiss not to point out that several of the Supervisors seem to have significant blocks of time with nothing on the docket. All that free time sure makes you think twice about those raises.
- Where are the vacation days? We know that the Supervisors do take a fair amount of time off (some more than others, clearly), so where are the records of when they’re gone? A bird tells us that Virginia Bass went to Hawaii at least four times in 2016 and early 2017, but we sure don’t see her mai-tai hours recorded anywhere.
- Why, considering the many meetings that are redacted, are there so many meetings with individuals and groups that aren’t redacted? Surely, the threat to the Supes’ deliberative process should apply to any all meetings of an official nature or that relate to some type of policy-forming…shouldn’t it?
See anything intriguing that we missed? Let us know, and we’ll update our post. Our advice is to sit back and enjoy a cold lemonade and let the overall lack of results from our Supervisors’ busy schedules wash over you slowly – if you try to take it in all at once, you’re going to need some more potent medication.