The Inyo Adventure Trails Public Hearing has been set
The Public Hearing for the Adventure Trails project currently scheduled for December 30, 2014, in Independence has been rescheduled to January 22, 2015, at 10 a.m. in Independence. Due to threats of litigation surrounding the project, the postponement is necessary to provide more time for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to provide the County with guidance about the ability of all five members of the Board of Supervisors to participate in the decision making process.
Originally scheduled for December 2nd, the Public Hearing was cancelled and re-scheduled for December 30th when a recent Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) regulation governing conflict of interest determinations for elected officials created uncertainty about the ability of members of the Board of Supervisors to vote on the Adventure Trails project. Out of an abundance of caution, the County cancelled the meeting and rescheduled the Hearing to allow time for the FPPC to provide a legal opinion.
Last Friday, Inyo County Counsel Marge Kemp-Williams was contacted by an FPPC representative who indicated that FPPC’s due date for providing the County with a ruling is January 12, 2015.
Based on this information, Ms. Kemp-Williams advised that it would be prudent to wait for FPPC guidance. Ms. Kemp-Williams explained that, without a ruling from the FPPC, each member of the Board of Supervisors will need to make an individual decision about their ability to participate in the vote. If more than two Supervisors declare a conflict and recuse themselves from the decision making
process, in order to ensure a quorum of the Board exists to make the legally required decision, those Supervisors declaring a conflict would have to draw straws to determine which of the disqualified
Supervisors will be selected to create a quorum to participate in the decision despite their declared conflict. The same process will be employed if the FPPC opines that three or more Supervisors cannot vote in the process. As a matter of law, if only three members of the Board of Supervisors – a quorum – are available to vote on a decision, then the decision must be approved by all three
“If it turns out only three members of the Board of Supervisors are able to vote on the Adventure trails project, it will require a unanimous vote, instead of a majority vote,” said County
Administrator Kevin Carunchio. “There is an overriding need to use every opportunity to ensure that each member of Board of Supervisors has the best possible information on which to determine their ability to participate in the decision making process and maintain the integrity of the Adventure Trails project.”
Carunchio acknowledged that nobody was pleased with the need to cancel the December 2nd meeting, and some people did not agree with the decision to schedule the hearing on December 30th.
He also recognizes that there may be others who may not be happy with the need to reschedule the meeting.