The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, on the fourth floor of the County Administration Center at 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors will consider setting legislative priorities for the next year at a public meeting on Tuesday, despite that two of the five current members will leave office in early January.

County staff will present a list of proposed topics for the board to consider including as part of its 2019 legislative platform, which defines the county’s positions on issues that are under the purview of state and federal lawmakers.

According to meeting documents, the list was developed with input from county officials and each elected board member.

The board has approved the annual legislative platform in February or March for the past three years.

If the proposed platform for 2019 is approved on Tuesday, it would be before incoming supervisors Anaiah Kirk and Ryan Campbell take their seats on Jan. 7.

Campbell defeated two-term District 2 Supervisor Randy Hanvelt in the Nov. 6 general election. Kirk won a runoff against Laurie Sylwester to replace two-term District 3 Supervisor Evan Royce, who decided not to seek re-election.

Neither of the incoming supervisors could be reached for comment Friday.

However, this wouldn’t be the first time the board has passed a legislative platform before new supervisors take their seats. The board approved the one for 2013 in November 2012, prior to District 1 Supervisor Sherri Brennan and District 5 Supervisor Karl Rodefer being seated.

Liz Peterson, a county administrative analyst, said she and Rodefer have been working with other county officials since the approval of the 2018 legislative platform in March to streamline the document and make it more effective.

Peterson said one of the things they looked at was the timeframe for when the document was approved, which was typically done too late in the year for county staff to effectively advocate to the California State Legislature on behalf of the board’s position.

“We realized with Supervisor Rodefer that we needed to change the time it’s approved so staff can really hit it early in the year,” she said.

Peterson said they discussed the reality that two new supervisors will be joining the board, but decided to move forward because they can still suggest changes throughout the year.

“This isn’t a done deal,” she said.

In addition to moving up the timeline for approval, the team also decided to reduce the number of topics that the platform will contain.

The 2018 platform was seven pages long and covered a wide variety of legislative goals, many of which were carried over from previous years, such as transferring the responsibility for J-59, also known as La Grange Road, from the county to the state and streamlining the environmental review process for projects.

This year’s platform is proposed to have three to five state and federal topics each. Peterson said the hope is that the narrower focus will boost the county’s ability to effectively achieve some of the priorities.

“We’re hoping that what’s in the 2020 platform will be different than the one in 2019,” she said.

Some of the proposed state topics to include in next year’s platform include developing a comprehensive and consistent policy for healthy forest management throughout the state, relaxing training requirements on volunteer firefighters, and seeking federal legislation to make it harder for people to recover their costs if they file an environmental lawsuit and lose.

Also at the meeting on Tuesday, the board will honor retiring County Administrator Craig Pedro in a ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m.

Pedro has worked in local government for 38 years, including 34 with the county. He’s served as county’s top government employee since November 2006.

The board will honor Pedro with a resolution detailing his career with the county and a range of accomplishments, which includes guiding the county through the 2008 economic recession, forming the Community Resources Agency through the combination of several departments, and using his local relationships to secure land from “two well respected families that led to the purchase of property” for the Law and Justice Center campus off Old Wards Ferry Road in Sonora.

Assistant County Administrator Tracie Riggs was tapped to become Pedro’s replacement shortly after he announced his retirement in June.

Riggs started taking over many of the day-to-day duties of the job last month, while Pedro has been taking vacation time and working on some final projects. He’s set to officially retire at the end of the year.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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