Pulling The Trigger - Is Elk Grove City Council's Trigg Decision Leadership or Acquiescence

UPDATED 8:30 am Last night's decision by the Elk Grove City Council to appoint former Elk Grove Unified School District Superintende...

UPDATED 8:30 am

Last night's decision by the Elk Grove City Council to appoint former Elk Grove Unified School District Superintendent Robert Trigg has not surprisingly evoked a wide range of reaction. Below is a sampling of some of the the varying thoughts on the matter.

Local Democratic Party member and former Board of Equalization candidate Chris Taylor wrote the following on his Facebook page.

"Watching the Elk Grove City council appointment process, I was awestruck how two people could talk about process before voting for a candidate that didn't want the job and didn't apply!

Council member Hume went so far as to say it was more honorable to choose someone that didn't apply than one of the six folks who put themselves out there for public inspection and judgment. Unbelievable... Make no mistake, this was about partisan politics and nothing more."


On Parker's Facebook post there were many comments more pointed about Mayor Gary Davis' role in the appointment. One person wrote "It was in a toss off article in the Elk Grove Citizen six days ago. Apparently some guy named Roy Herburger just chose the city council member, according to Gary Davis. Well done, Gary! Bang up job moving Elk Grove forward!"

Others have defended Davis, Detrick and Hume citing the Rotary Four Way Test. As an example this person said on their Facebook "Last night, the EG City Council made a difficult decision - one that no one really wanted or expected but it avoided something all of us wanted to avoid (costly special election). Mayor Gary Davis, Councilman Steve Detrick and Councilman Pat Hume (all Rotarians) reflected on the Rotary Four-Way Test and *compromised* on a solution that avoided a significant un-budgeted expenditure. That's leadership, that's Rotary, nice job, Gentlemen!"

For his part Davis issued the following statement :

"At last night's City Council meeting, we made a very difficult decision. It wasn't easy or the preferred outcome. After hours of deliberation at two separate council meetings and continued deadlocked 2-2 votes, we had a choice to make to fill the vacant city council seat:

A special election which costs over $500k or appoint a civil servant and reputable Elk Grove leader to serve as a placeholder until the Voters can make their choice in 2014.

Mind you, this is $500k of non-budgeted general fund dollars. That is a lot of police officers, economic development incentive funds, or just plain saving of taxpayer dollars.

I wish we weren't deadlocked, but we were. From my perspective, the only alternative was to choose someone above reproach who had not applied for the position. Therefore, we appointed Bob Trigg to fill the remainder to the Council term. He has a long and distinguished career serving Elk Grove both as Superintendent of EGUSD and President of the State Board of Education. And, he will not seek reelection in 2014. This set the state for the 2014 campaign to begin.

From my perspective, candidates who would put their personal ambition above the best interest of taxpayer resources, should be watched closely.

Some of you will support my decision. Others will not. Where I sit, it was the only responsible course of action.

We will all move forward and Elk Grove will become stronger through this process." On this site, there were both critical an affirmative opinions about the decision. One person said "If I understand the process correctly, the council had the 1st option to appoint someone from District 4 without applications back in December. The council decided to do a formal application process, help with public outreach and hold two open council meetings. After a deadlock on pretty much all the candidates in this 2nd option, they came up with 3rd option of Mr. Trigg at the 11th hour. This saved from going to the 4th option of a $500,000 special election that would have been required by Law shortly after last nights meeting. The council got it done and they are to be commended for finding a solution. End of Story. Now it is time to move on."

On the flip side another person said "We had a process in place for this selection process...and out of the blue, a new suitor emerges. There was a process in place for a reason...that reason...transparent government! I have NOTHING against Mr. Trigg...but the process has been raped, stabbed and left to die on the roadside. This council thinks they solved a problem last night?? They have only started a new chapter in the disfunctionality of Elk Grove. The PROCESS...remember that when you come before council with an issue...remember you want to be treated using the long established rules of government...you really DO NOT WANT this council to make s#it up as they go along. What a mess. Welcome to the board Mr. Trigg...hope you have hip wadders."

Although Davis has defended his decision, Council Members Steve Detrick and Pat Hume have not offered comment on the proceedings. For his part Council Member Jim Cooper was critical of the proceedings and was quoted in this story saying ""There was a complete lack of public input in this process."

Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Nancy Chaires posted this statement on Facbook late yesterday.
"Last night, the Elk Grove City Council abandoned the rules it had committed to for the appointment process and selected someone who had not applied or been vetted like the other candidates. This episode illustrates the need for more transparency in our government and respect for its citizens. I remain committed to bringing about the government that Elk Grove residents want and deserve." Nancy Chaires

So what is your opinion leadership or acquiescence?



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9 comments

Anonymous said...

While the Council proceedings were occurring last night, our subsidized skating rink was spraying water from multiple sprinkler heads onto the empty ice rink--and this went on all through the night because they were still spraying at 5:30 am this morning. Trying to thaw the ice--the story of this council appointment process!

Anonymous said...

Gary Davis did exactly what he quoted above... Put his personal agenda above the best interest of the taxpayers! He can try to spin it to make it seem like all this was fair and in the best interest of us all... But reality is that it didn't! So much for Gary's question to the candidates two weeks ago, "what does community mean to you?". Obviously to him... Not a whole heck of a lot since he went ahead and made this decision with absolutely NO public input whatsoever! Thx for being so concerned with our opinions Mr. Davis!!!! Community rocks!!!!

Sarah Johnson said...

Please remember that this is not about Mr. Trigg. Like Ms. Chaires, he could be painted with the brush of "politics first", and that should not happen.
While I do think the Council was fortunate to have a way out of the corner they painted themselves into, the process was just so flawed!!!

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
you are correct. this is not about chaires or trigg. both are bright, intelligent people. the problem is the process was ignored and our faith in this council has suffered because of it. does this remind anyone of leary and his back room deals?? with all the alcolades about the remaining candidates (one excluded) a compromise could not be reached? perhaps all the alcolades were just for show and the council did not like any of them...look at the talent that showed up to step in. mr. owen was a breath of fresh air; mr bussutil was willing to be the stop gap for 18 months without strings; and the list goes on. this was all about politics and nothing about what is good for elk grove. sarah, are you as disappointed in gary as I am. his lack of leadership these past three meetings has been concerning. what was the business about maita and scherman? hard to follow such logic or illogic. I think we have been duped by gary. I feel betrayed and used. cannot imagine what the five candidate must think about this "process". I have a feeling they will never volunteer again for anything. so sad

Anonymous said...

Hume isn't a Rotarian. He got kicked out of a club his Grandfather started.

Anonymous said...

I fear that because of the way this entire process was handled...nobody in Elk Grove is going to want to volunteer to serve....especially to work with this group of councilmen. Here's how it works....post the opening...accept applications....grill the candidates and make them unnecessarily answer public questions and go through a month of meeting people and reaching out to the community....meet again..tell them they are all so qualified and great...then choose someone who doesn't want to do it and call it a day! Makes me really want to throw my hat into the ring..how about you????

Dina from EG said...

So Sarah, how are you feeling about your Mayor now that he's established he's a baffoon. He keeps stumbling over himself since he took office.

He should have never allowed a vote on Trigg before some public input or vetting. Where's his leadership?

How foolish we must all look to the outside world.

Anonymous said...

We have Wonder Woman as our new mayor!

Davis's total lack of thought and analysis on what he has done / tried to do since he became mayor is apparent to even a child. He looks foolish and simple, unprofessional, and lacking of substance.

It's like having Sophia (with a bad haircut)as mayor.

Anyone for a recall?

Anonymous said...

You asked a question whether what we saw was leadership or Acquiescence? Well, it certainly wasn't leadership, so my vote is for Acquiescence.

Poor job of leading; poor job of compromising; poor job of transparency.

Mr. Davis, your political career is seemingly over. You couldn't pull off a win for the Democratic machine and you failed miserably at providing responsible representation for EG. I hope your day job isn't in jeopardy cause your night job is.

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