Worthley replaces Conway as chair of Supervisors

By C.J. Barbre

Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.

- Charlotte Whitton

District 2 Supervisor Connie Conway's term as chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors ended at the Jan. 10 Board meeting. It was with noticeable reluctance that she relinquished the position, and with a smattering of surprise from her fellow supervisors that she managed to accomplish so much.

It should be noted that at the beginning of 2005 District 3 Supervisor Phil Cox remarked, &#8220Connie, you're starting the year on fire.”

&#8220My last hurrah,” Conway called it as she recapped the year's activities or the &#8220ambitious agenda which called for a Business Plan and Strategic Plan, technology update and code enforcement.” Conway said the Strategic Plan and Business Plan are in the first phases, while technology has been upgraded county-wide.

The Board of Supervisors traveled to most of the incorporated cities for their meetings during the technology upgrade in supervisor chambers. &#8220We went on the road with access to the people, a good thing,” she said. Certainly the cities enjoyed it, some taking the opportunity to tout their individual accomplishments and future plans.

Code enforcement, or &#8220cleaning up the county” Conway referred to as &#8220never ending,” but observed they now had six departments cooperating in moving forward. &#8220I'm very appreciative we have started down this path and are not backing down,” she said.

Also in conjunction with cleaning up the county, the first county summit with the mayors and/or council members took place. Graffiti and gang activities were discussed by the police, district attorney and a judge. Conway said she appreciated &#8220the mayors working with me on issues we all share in common.”

Another accomplishment was a childhood obesity conference with CCSP (Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership). &#8220I hope to keep it in the forefront,” Conway said.

Over the year Conway expressed frustration that the General Plan Update was taking so long. She repeated that frustration saying, &#8220It's a long but important process.”

Conway said she had an enhanced appreciation for county employees. &#8220You are the county family.” Regarding retirements and new employees, Conway said, &#8220I like change that's forward looking and forward thinking. I asked everyone to work together to earn the respect and support of residents every day.”

The homage conclude with reciprocal remarks for fellow supervisors.

To District 5 Supervisor Jim Maples, she said, &#8220Jim, I appreciate your wisdom and guidance, sometimes unsolicited, but that's OK too.”

To District 4 Supervisor Steve Worthley, she said, &#8220Steve, you're one of the few people allowed to call me Constance. We have a shared vision for this county.”

And for the freshman supervisors she said, &#8220Allen and Phil, both of you hit the ground running. I appreciate the issues you brought with you.”

In conclusion Conway said, &#8220I hope the fire continues as we reorganize for 2006.”

&#8220You certainly have brought a new light to the term ‘chairman'” Maples responded gallantly. He said she should be commended for her term as chairman and her work, observing that she was at the helm for the county's $700 million plus budget, and ended the year being named president of CSAC (California State Association of Counties).

District 1 Supervisor Allen Ishida spoke to the assembly rather than directly to Conway. &#8220I knew there would be a lot of changes, but it was a pleasant surprise so much was accomplished this last year. Connie was always here to lead our board. She has opened a lot of doors for us through CSAC.”

&#8220You're still on fire,” Cox said, not letting go of a good quote. &#8220You were always there to listen, an important quality in a leader, and you responded well.” Although succession was predetermined, Cox then took the necessary step of nominating Worthley to be the next chairman. Maples would have then moved to the vice chair position, however because he is retiring at the end of 2006, he nominated Ishida as vice chair.

As the new chairman, Worthley held the floor. &#8220I would like to honor you for the hard work you have done this last year,” he said, confessing to skepticism that Conway could manage to be in Sacramento for her CSAC duties &#8220almost every other week and here for every important event.”

&#8220What they're trying to say is I have no life,” Conway said in an aside to the gallery. &#8220This is my life.”

Worthley credited Conway for his securing a position on the Commission on State Mandates where he will help decide which local entities are eligible for reimbursements on state mandated programs.

Worthley concluded by thanking the board &#8220for the confidence to appoint me [chairman].” He will give his State of the County address at a future meeting.

The Board of Supervisors next meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24 in chambers at 2800 W. Burrel Ave. in Visalia.

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