2017-04-21 / Letters

Commissioner should not have been removed

On April 11, I witnessed at the county supervisors meeting what was tantamount to a public hanging. Three supervisors— Foy, Long, and Parks—took the unprecedented move to remove Planning Commissioner Bruce Smith, whom the board approved 3-0 in February.

Supervisor Steve Bennett appointed Smith, and supervisors Bennett, Zaragosa and Parks approved it. They used information from a guidebook without legal authority. They misinterpreted state and county law to support a hidden agenda. They made up their minds without listening. Supervisors make the decisions and the planning commission just advises. Smith would have been one of five commissioners.

Qualifications for the position were simple: The person has to be appointed by a supervisor and the person cannot be currently employed by the county. Even county legal counsel indicated that Smith met the qualifications. Smith had not committed any crimes nor done anything inappropriate. His perceived crime: He is retired from the county planning department.

Supervisor Parks speculated there was a “perceived conflict of interest” and she appeared to have a personal issue with Smith. Most of us felt his service was an advantage since he understands the processes and what works and what doesn’t for our county.

Supervisors Foy, Long and Parks brought up criteria that does not exist and has never been addressed by the board as selection criteria, part of their flawed criteria. They questioned Smith’s integrity and ability to serve in an unbiased manner without proof.

They speculated there would be a conflict of interest because eventually Smith would be reviewing plans that he had worked on previously. Previous coworkers spoke on Smith’s behalf as being above reproach. The supervisors’ treatment of Smith, who served in an untarnished capacity, was embarrassing and disgraceful.

By the criteria used to remove Smith, supervisors Foy and Long should remove their appointees. Supervisor Foy’s appointment is a Realtor and property manager. Supervisor Long’s appointee is a practicing lawyer addressing environmental and eminent domain issues.

Barbara Williams
Camarillo

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