Sixteen public servants elected in 2018 were sworn in as the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors convened for its first meeting of the year, a group that included a brand new member and its chair for 2019. The group of officials stood before the dais at the County Administration Building Tuesday morning and replied “I do” when Judge Michael Carozzo administered the oath of office, after which the time came to pass the gavel. Around 10:30 a.m. former chair and First District supervisor Das Williams vacated his seat at the center of the dais and gave way to Fifth District supervisor Steve Lavagnino, who was re-elected for a third term on the board in 2018.
After switching seats with Mr. Williams, Mr. Lavagnino delivered optimistic remarks regarding progress made on local developments like the widening of the 101 freeway, the soon to be opened North County Jail, and land agreements between the County and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. He added that he was grateful for his colleagues’ ability to set aside partisan disagreements and cooperate in the wake of the Thomas Fire and Jan 9. debris flow.
“While we don’t always agree on the issues, we always strive to do the people’s business,” Mr. Lavagnino said.
In addition to welcoming back Mr. Lavagnino, Tuesday’s meeting marked former Santa Barbara City Council member Gregg Hart’s first day as a supervisor. Mr. Hart is replacing former Second District supervisor Janet Wolf, who chose not to run for re-election last year. Mr. Hart said that he was honored to fill his predecessor’s “big shoes” and will follow Ms. Wolf’s example.
“I will try to emulate the professionalism and the commitment that she brought to the job,” he said.
Half of the individuals sworn into office Tuesday morning were superior court judges and included James Edward Herman, Timothy Staffel, Clifford Anderson, Arthur Garcia, Patricia Kelly, Donna Geck, Colleen Sterne, and Raimundo Montes de Oca. Judges Geck, Sterne, and Montes de Oca were not present at the meeting.
Those elected to other County offices were Betsy Schaffer to auditor-controller, Joseph E. Holland to clerk, recorder, and assessor, Joyce Dudley to District Attorney, Bill Brown to Sheriff-Coroner, Harry Hagen to treasurer-tax collector, and Susan Salcido to county superintendent of schools.
When the board reconvened from a closed session following the morning’s ceremony, it approved starting the necessary administrative process with the state to acquire a United States Army Fire Type I Black Hawk helicopter, which Mr. Hart told the News-Press is “immensely more capable than our Vietnam-era helicopters.” The Black Hawk’s purchase was approved at the board’s meeting on December 11, 2018 and will be bought from federal surplus with $1.726 million in funds from the County’s Fire District Fund Balance.
The Board of Supervisors will next meet on Tuesday, January 15 in Santa Maria.