BOS Purges Bullock
Cantrall New Chair
In a scene bordering on the Kafkaesque the Modoc County Board of Supervisors Wednesday purged Jeff Bullock of his chairmanship and effectively stripped him of all powers.
In a special session before a standing room only audience of mostly pro-Bullock supporters the board voted 4 to 1 to remove him as its chair without specifying their complaints against him other than a vague expression from fellow supervisor Dave Allan of “conduct unbecoming.”
In California politics removing a chairman from the leadership of a county board of supervisors is virtually unheard of.
“This is not very common,” said a spokesperson for the California State Association of Counties in Sacramento. “I do not know the specifics regarding Modoc’s practice, but with several boards, the chair rotates on an annual basis among the five supervisors, thus removal is rare since they will rotate out within a few months.”
The board’s action, led by Supervisor Patricia Cantrall and Allan and supported by Geri Byrne and Loren “Shorty“ Crabtree, left the audience with a vacant sense of bewilderment and bitterness.
Ironically, coming to Bullock’s defense largely on grounds that the politically conservative board was violating his rights under the First Amendment were members of the ultra-conservative Modoc County Tea Party.
There were charges from speakers of a “cabal,” and a lack of transparency or openness. Audience members stood and said they refused to accept the nebulous charge of “conduct unbecoming.”
“The Board of Supervisors has not shown any reason for removing Bullock from the chair,” said an unidentified speaker. “You want to shut his voice down, you want to shut his power down. You are violating the First Amendment of the Constitution. What has he done in the 30 days he’s been chair? You know there is a power grab on this board.”
Bullock had few words to say in his defense other than he had the right to make appointments to board sub-committees, a reference to what he apparently thought were the board’s complaints against him.
But Cantrall, after being elected on a 4 to 1 vote to replace Bullock, tipped off her reasons for purging Bullock when she came to the defense of Chief Administrative Office Chester Robertson -- who at that point had not been brought into the heated argument between the board and the public.
Apparently addressing a member of the audience, Cantrall said, “You, sir, have called the CAO everything but a white man.”
In the turmoil of a riled audience, Cantrall gavelled the meeting to an end.