Feast or famine?
After months of a slow trickle of candidate applications for the county’s top administrative job, there’s suddenly an applicant flood—but few candidates appear to be truly qualified for the high-profile, and often political, job.

The county spent upward of $25,000 this summer to hire a headhunting firm to conduct a nationwide search to find a new permanent chief administrative officer. Until recently, the firm (which first filters them) has turned over only “a few” applications, said interim CAO Lawrence Odle. Last week, though, the county received a whopping 40 applications to consider, he said. However, only “a handful” appear to be qualified for the job.

Odle has held the position since October and has said he’s not interested in the job—which pays more than $125,000 annually—permanently.

Odle will hold the seat indefinitely, until the board agrees on a permanent replacement.

Hey, those classes aren’t free, you know
Every year, academic departments at Chico State University mix and match courses to add new majors and minors. Then, classes in other departments have to provide for an influx of “crossover” students meeting new requirements. At the Jan. 31 meeting of the Academic Senate, somebody finally asked the burning question: Who’s paying for all this?

The latest to be introduced to the faculty board were new bachelor’s degrees in applied computer graphics and business information systems. The majors sound like great ideas, senators concurred. But Jennifer Meadows, who represents the Communication Design Department, said she’s found that students in special majors enroll in her courses, taking slots away from design majors, who end up in her office in tears because they can’t graduate on time. At the same time, teachers are taxed by a higher number of students with no extra money to match.

President Manuel Esteban said it’s time for that to stop. “We cannot continue to add programs without looking at the possibility that something has stopped serving its utility,” he said.

After some discussion, Professor Sam Edelman suggested that in the future all proposals for new programs include a statement on their economic impact. The two majors under consideration will be back on Feb. 14 with that addition.

Recall organizers: We’re on a roll
A group of Paradise residents working to recall Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi predicted a sure—though hard-won—victory this summer, if they can keep up their current rate of signature gathering.

After a slow start due to snow and rain on the Ridge last week, committee member John Cecil said organizers have now gathered “well into the hundreds” of the signatures they need to get the recall issue on a special ballot this summer. The committee needs 4,900 valid signatures by May 22 and is aiming to gather 6,000, Cecil said.

He declined to give a specific number of signatures gathered so far.

“This is just the beginning,” Cecil said. “So far, we’ve only been standing outside grocery stores and the like, so when we start going door to door, we’re really going to bring them in.”

And speaking of Yamaguchi, interim CAO Lawrence Odle announced Wednesday morning that the total cost to the county for the redistricting mess that led to the recall in the first place tops $106,700. That’s the final cost, counting all the invoices of the handful of lawyers who argued the case for and against Plan 5.

Because the cost report was still being finalized as the CN&R was going to print, a breakdown to the cost-per-lawyer wasn’t yet available.