Put us on the agenda

Rick Clements is partner in a Chico swimming pool construction company.

Honest and open government: This is what we as taxpayers expect from our local, state and federal governments. We also have the right to give our opinions on the high-level employees chosen to serve us. The members of the Butte County Board of Supervisors apparently have lost sight of this.

At the center of this are Supervisors Curt Josaissen and Kim Yamaguchi and Chief Administrative Officer Paul McIntosh, who have prevented me and other contractors from being placed on the supervisors’ agenda so we can discuss Yvonne Christopher, director of the county Development Services Department, and the building permit crisis [see “Bottlenecks and backbiting,” Newslines, Feb. 3].

Our attorney has sent letters to McIntosh asking that we be placed on the agenda. We’ve received no response. Even though the problem we wish to address is one that the county acknowledges is serious and could be costing local businesses millions of dollars, we’ve been relegated to the three-minute public-comment period, when usually no one from the public is present and legally no action can be taken.

We want action, not secrecy. We want to talk to our elected officials in a public forum, one that has the potential to produce results, about the permit process. Christopher has had three years to solve the destructive inability of her department to process building plans in a timely manner. In that period, the delays and excuses have gotten worse, not better.

Under Christopher’s direction, the plan-check function of the Building Department has been shredded. Highly skilled workers are leaving or have left due to her inexperience and lack of acumen. Hundreds of contractors and other businesses are losing money at a record pace.

Why was she hired, anyway? Her resume was incomplete, not listing all the jobs she’d held, and in some instances she claimed skill descriptions that seemed to be plagiarized from Monterey County job description sheets. Her highest degree from an accredited school or university is an associate of arts degree in general education from a community college. For this the county is paying her $108,000 a year! Why? Who needs universities and four-year degrees?

Now the county Building Department Web site has gone secret. You can no longer see all the permits being applied for. Why?

And why is it that, at a time when most builders are waiting weeks or even months to get their permits, Christopher and her husband applied for and received a permit for their home over the counter the same day, April 24, 2004?

We respectfully ask our supervisors: Let us talk. No more secrecy, Curt and Kim. Put us on the agenda, Paul.