Stuck at home while Kirk (Estero Bay Plumbers) was installing a new kitchen sink, at 1:30 pm., as announced, I tuned in the BOS meeting on the radio, curious to hear County Administrator Jim Grant's report on the Paavo Ogren/Maria Kelly Mess.
Why did I tune in at 1:30? Well, said Bob Cuddy's Tribune Sept 30 story, , "It is my intention to report out after closed session, " County Administrator Jim Grant wrote in an email to The Tribune. Closed session takes place after the morning session of the Bord of Supervisors and the report starts the afternoon meeting at 1:30. p.m."
So, naturally, any Los Osos folks interested in this issue would show up in the morning, waaaaay, waaaay before the official 1:30 report-out time, because they would know that the BOS would have arranged to have Mr. Grant report out in the morning, waaaay, waaay before the announced time, thus making sure nobody from Los Osos would be in the audience. Then, in the afternoon, after closed session, oh, along about 1:30 p.m. the folks in the audience who specifically came to hear that issue would ask, "Hey, where's the report," only to be told, "Oh, we gave that report this morning, waaaay, waaaay before any of you guys showed up, so, sorry, you're too late, there will be no report now, so shut up and go away, thank you."
To which several Los Osos folks objected. Linde Owen even politely raised a point of order, in fact, only to be gaveled down by Chairman Hill. Mr. Grant did chime in to say he'd be happy to talk to audience members in the hallway, (away from the microphones and TV), which is how the County clearly wanted to handle this whole mess -- bury it out of sight with a brief 2 page report, declare there was no conflict at all, and above all, allow no questions in public. Which is how the BOS likes to do business when one of their own steps in it.
Declared Chairman Hill after gaveling down the few irate commentors from the audience, "What's a Board of Supervisors meeting without a little bitterness?"
Really? Bitterness? Well, Mr. Hill., let me suggest a reason for the ire. Let's start with declaring that you're preparing an above board, transparent report, that the report will be presented at a time and placed announced, the public will be allowed to review the report and offer public comment, exactly like you handle all other issues, and then you switch the time so there would be no transparency, no public comment, only citizens chatting with your CEO in the hallway. Ya think that might account for some . . . bitterness, eh?
Well, Mother Calhoun is not surprised by any of this in the least, especially not the old switcheroo without notice. Par for the course. And so we all troop off into the happy sunset, all smiley-faced, job well done.
Except for Paavo. This stupid mess made his employers look bad, look foolish, caused them to engage in the ridiculous ruse of shuffling presentation times so as to reduce the possibility that a public hearing would make them look even more foolish. Afraid the public would drag up all kinds of troubling issues they do not want paraded in public. Employers don't like knowing that one of their bright, shining stars' messy private life has exposed them to a public mess, exposed them to embarassing questions in the public mind such as, "Why'd the heck did you hire that guy?" Employers will remember that and consider, behind closed doors, during private employee evaluation reviews, that perhaps their fair-haired boy doesn't have the kind of mature judgement required for promotion up the line. That he's demonstrated that he's a liability to them. That perhaps it's time for him to consider employment somewhere else since his trajectory upwards in this County is over.
Well, now it's all back to business as usual, here in SLO County. It's how we roll. And comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone living in Los Osos.