Dolan blows the whistle on backroom dealings
Jane Dolan isn’t mincing words these days.
On the heels of heavy criticism about the “shady” way it handled the firing of Development Services Department head Tom Parilo, Dolan is leveling harsh charges that the Board of Supervisors is awash in backroom dealings and illegal pre-meeting vote choreography.
Dolan, a longtime liberal member of the board, claims that a new, conservative majority on the board routinely violates open-meetings laws.
Dolan makes the charge in a fiery letter to Supervisor Bob Beeler, who represents the Oroville area on the board. In it, she accuses Beeler of choreographing votes and opinions among himself and Supervisors Kim Yamaguchi and Curt Josiassen, purposely leaving her and Supervisor Mary Ann Houx out of the loop.
Dolan argues that the three have been acting “in concert” for several weeks, but she says she was “particularly disgusted” with the March 13 closed-session firing of Director of Development Services Tom Parilo, a dismissal Dolan charges was politically motivated and pre-choreographed.
Dolan says that Parilo’s dismissal was only the beginning of the triad’s plans, and that Beeler has been circulating a formal proposal to reorganize the entire Development Services Department among his supporters on the board. If that’s true, the three would be guilty of a criminal act.
Under the Brown Act, elected bodies are prohibited from meeting privately to discuss or decide on public issues. The law is designed to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public view.
When asked about Dolan’s charges, Beeler shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
“Me, Bob Beeler, do something like that?” he asked rhetorically. “It’s not true.”
He didn’t give an answer when asked why he hasn’t yet responded directly to Dolan, saying only, “When I have something to say to her, I’ll say it. After that, then you’ll know.”
The scuffle with Dolan isn’t the only hot potato Beeler is juggling. Members of the Cherokee Preservation Society, formed to oppose a sand mine that’s been proposed to open smack in the middle of their tiny foothill community, have threatened to mount an effort to recall Beeler if he approves the mine. The group is angry that Beeler accepted a $2,000 campaign contribution from Advanced Mineral Technology, which has proposed the mine.
In her letter, Dolan demands that Beeler send her “any and all” materials he’s been circulating about the reorganization of the Development Services Department. So far Beeler has not responded.
Although Dolan said she’s sure that Yamaguchi, Beeler and Josiassen have met illegally to discuss county business, she acknowledges that it will be difficult to impossible to prove.
“This is kind of like grasping at a cloud,” Dolan said. “I can observe and believe that they are working together, but unless they agree with me that they are—which they won’t—then it’s just my word against theirs. But I know this is going on.”
Yamaguchi, whose November election swayed the board to a conservative persuasion and who shares many campaign contributors with Beeler, denies that he’s been part of any covert plot to choreograph votes or opinions and chalks up Dolan’s charges to “sour grapes.”
“That’s all it is,” Yamaguchi said. “She’s losing votes now, because many of us usually don’t agree with her. … What can I say?”
Dolan said she’s already contacted the state Attorney General’s Office and plans to take her case there.
“I’m trying to get an appointment right now," she said. "I just think this is ridiculous, and I’m not going to be quiet about it."