County public meetings to continue online for 30 more days; COVID cases decrease by 27.9% over past two weeks
By Daniel Borsuk
In a show of respect for her 34 years of public service, retiring Contra Costa County Board of Supervisor Karen Mitchoff will manage the board’s gavel in 2022, a year when vice chair Federal Glover would have taken over the board leadership duties from current chair Diane Burgis of Brentwood.
Vice chair Glover of Pittsburg, who would have customarily been automatically approved by his supervisorial colleagues as chair for 2022, made the motion to transfer the board chair duties to Mitchoff as an act of respect for her public service dating back to 1981 in the office of late Contra Costa Sherriff-Coroner Richard Rainey as his executive secretary.
Glover, who represents District 5 on the board, will continue to serve as vice chair in 2022 and assume the chair duties in 2023.
Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill has served as District IV Supervisor since January 2011.
Supervisor Mitchoff had initially announced her candidacy for the position of Contra Costa County Recorder-Clerk when former officer holder Joe Canciamilla resigned and sentenced for violating Fair Political Practices Commission laws by spending more than $130,000 in campaign funds for personal uses. Mitchoff eventually stepped away from actively pursuing the County Recorder-Clerk post when Assistant Recorder-Clerk Debbi Cooper announced her candidacy and eventually won the supervisors’ approval to accept the top post.
“I talked to Supervisor Mitchoff, who plans to not run for reelection after next year, to serve as our chairperson as an honor,” said Supervisor Glover. “Therefore, I would make a motion to nominate Karen Mitchoff as chair for 2022 and Glover serve as vice chair for 2022.”
Glover’s motion passed on a 5-0 vote.
“I want to thank Mr. Glover to allow me to serve as board chair in my final year on the board,” said Mitchoff. “It shows how wonderful it is to be on this board. We are always respectful and kind.”
Mitchoff’s eventual departure raises the question of who might run for her position.
Among some of the potential candidates are Ken Carlson, a gay retired Concord police officer who serves on the Pleasant Hill City Council. Concord City Councilmember Edi Birsan has also frequently said he would run for the supervisorial post.
Mitchoff, a Portland, OR native, is a Cal State East Bay B.A. graduate in Human Development and has an elected and appointed public service record that includes election to the Pleasant Hill City Council in 2008 and service as mayor in 2010. She was appointed to the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District Board of Directors in 2003 and election to the Board of Directors in 2004 and 2006. From 1992 to 1996 she served on the Pleasant Hill Planning Commission.
Online Meetings for 30 More Days
The return of in person public meetings, especially at the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ brand new $100 million county administration building in downtown Martinez, will be on hold for at least another 30 days because of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 361. The law now allows public meeting to be held onlin through January 31, 2022. At least through November the supervisors and all county commissions and advisory panels – the Assessment Appeals Board, Merit Board, Planning Commission, and Measure X Advisory Commission – will continue to conduct meetings remotely.
The supervisor’s resolution states:
“The Board of Supervisors finds that in person meetings of the Board of Supervisors would present risks to the health or safety of the public, staff and officials attending meetings, in light of the high case rate of COVID-19 infections in the county.
“As authorized by Assembly Bill 361, effective immediately and for the next 30 days the Board of Supervisors, acting in all its capacities and all its subcommittees, will use teleconferencing for meetings with the provisions of Government Code section 54953e.”
County COVID-19 Cases and Vaccinations
In the meantime, the Contra Costa Health Services reported there were 1,532 COVID-19 cases reported in the past two weeks, for a 36.8 percent decrease. Seventy-three COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, a 27.9 decrease over the past two weeks, department records show.
The Contra Costa County Health Services also reported the county’s vaccination rate for residents ages 12 and older, who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, is 86.3 percent compared to a 75.9 percent national rate.