As his latest cost-cutting measure, Governor Jerry Brown recently issued an executive order that banned all non-essential travel by state employees. Included under the ban’s terms was attendance at conferences, networking opportunities, professional development courses, continuing education classes. On a related note, the issue of travel expenses became rather heated in Mendocino County recently when the board debated reimbursing 4th District Supervisor Kendall Smith for her attendance at a National Association of Counties conference in Portland, Oregon during the month of July. One a 3-2 vote, the Board of Supervisors ended up denying Smith the $1,500 of travel reimbursement. Both county CEO Carmel Angelo and Smith were the opposing votes, but supporters of denying the funds argued that the county could not spare the expense. On the flip side, concerns were raised that the county needed lobbying representation: The Ukiah Daily Journal reports:
“[CEO Carmel] Angelo reminded the board that the body dismissed the county's state and federal lobbyists to cut costs. ‘There is nobody that's advocating or lobbying for Mendocino County these days but Mendocino County,’ Angelo said. Third District Supervisor John Pinches questioned the benefit of NACo membership, saying the organization is more about its own internal workings than about lobbying. Angelo said the board had already agreed its NACo membership was important when it voted to continue the membership during last year's budget hearings.”
Officials disputed the level of representation they were already receiving and whether or not it was currently sufficient for meeting the county’s needs. Supervisor Smith also pointed to other counties’ efforts to increase their lobbying presence. However, the vote to deny funds primarily stemmed from the need to find 5 percent in cuts for the board’s budget, which has not been an easy feat. For more, see here.