Sharing Information | Encouraging Engagement
January seemed a long way off when election results came in last Summer. Now we are just a few weeks away from the date that I will take office on behalf of Trinity County.
While there will always be more to learn (about our county and this role), I have been trying to use the time available to prepare for the day that I take office in January. Here are some notes regarding the steps I’ve taken so far.
Information Gathering – I am a big fan of the “seek first to understand, then to be understood” approach. With that in mind, I’ve invested quite a bit of time in seeking information that I believe will be of great value when I am in office. Here are some examples:
- Meetings with Supervisors. I was able to have 1-1 discussions with most sitting supervisors. My focus has been on the role, preparations, tips for success, etc. Note – the Brown Act prohibits discussions with more than one other supervisor regarding issues that will come before the board.
- Meetings with local leaders. I was fortunate to get time with a number of local leaders in both public and private roles.
- Meetings with county department heads. I have already met with our previous CAO, our interim CAO, and some department heads. Interim CAO – Letty Garza is making arrangements for me (and Supervisor-Elect Carpenter-Harris) to meet with all department heads as part of our onboarding process.
- Meetings with residents. It has been great to spend time with residents both in group settings and in 1-1 discussions. I think it’s hugely important for me to understand the perspectives of residents throughout our county and our district.
Getting Involved – I decided not to wait for January to start getting involved in matters of importance to the county. In addition to proactively seeking out opportunities to get involved, some residents have asked me for assistance with issues and questions. Here are some examples.
- Our Forests – I have attended a number of meetings of the Fire Safe Council, the Weaverville Community Forest, Trinity County Resource Conservation District, and public meetings with the U.S. Forest Service.
- Economic Development – I have been working with a newly formed Economic Development Roundtable. Our initial focus is on preparations for a potential funding opportunity that will take shape in January. Our scope will expand once we address this short-term priority.
- Arts – I was able to join a public workshop regarding arts initiatives in Trinity County. Here again, there is an opportunity for us to work together in efforts to obtain special funding to support arts-related initiatives.
- Cannabis – In addition to attending some Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee meetings, I have met with a number of individuals and groups with differing points of view regarding this subject of importance here in Trinity County.
- General Plan – I was able to attend two of the General Plan community workshops held within District 1. There will be many more opportunities for participation in this process.
- Rotary – I was honored to be invited to join the Rotary Club of Weaverville (and subsequently the board of this organization). I have learned a lot through the weekly programs in which speakers present to members during our lunch-time meetings. It has also been great to get involved in some of the many service-oriented projects sponsored by this club.
Training – Formal training for this role is provided through the New Supervisor Institute. Our first session took place on November 14th in Anaheim. It was a full day, in-person session just for newly-elected supervisors. We followed this up with a 5 hour Zoom session on December 1st. Both of these sessions provided useful information and the opportunity to meet other leaders in county government. More training will be provided through this organization in February.
Observing – I attended a number of Planning Commission meetings and BOS meetings prior to the election. Since the election, I have made a point of attending most BOS meetings in person. It has been helpful to observe these meetings, seeing the types of issues that come before the board and the manner in which they were handled.
Appointments – I will be responsible for appointing individuals to important roles once I take office. In preparation, I have reached out to two current appointees to discuss the roles and their interest in continuing in these roles.
- Trinity County Planning Commission – Carol Fall has agreed to stay on as the Planning Commissioner for District 1. Carol brings a wealth of information and experience to this role. I believe she takes a thoughtful, professional, well-informed, and balanced approach to this important role.
- Trinity County Fair Association Board – Marjie Watkins (recently appointed) has agreed to continue in her role as District 1 representative on the board. This is a new role for Marjie… though she has been involved in fair-related activities for most of her life.
At this point, I know a lot more about our county and this role than I did a year ago… and a lot less than I will know a year from now. As I continue on this journey of continuous learning and growth, please know that your insights and opinions are important to me.