Measure to require residency for all Placer County elected officials heading for November ballot

June 23, 2020

A residency requirement for all Placer County elected officials will be decided by the voters in November - one of four recommended changes to the county charter adopted today by the Board of Supervisors.

Following 11 months of study, deliberation and community engagement, Placer’s Charter Review Committee presented its final report to the board at its May 19 meeting in Auburn. From a preliminary list of 14 topics of interest, the committee proposed four charter updates for the board’s consideration. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the first reading of all four ordinances at its June 9 meeting, and today adopted them and directed their placement as countywide ballot measures in the Nov. 3 general election.

Each measure would require a simple majority to pass. 

One recommended charter addition would require all county elected officials, not just the Board of Supervisors, to reside in Placer County. Existing law requires elected officers to be registered Placer County voters at the time of their appointment but does not require continued residency after that appointment.

“We are representing and serving the members of our community and I think that it is important for our elected officials to live in our community,” said Board Chair Bonnie Gore. “It truly does make a difference.” 

Citing their interest to improve administrative efficiency, the committee also recommended splitting the county Civil Service Commission’s administrative and hearing duties and assigning administrative duties to the Human Resources department. The change would allow the commission to focus its work on resolving grievances and other personnel hearings and shift its more technical and routine responsibilities, such as approving position classifications and administering competitive application tests, to professional staff in the Human Resources department. 

Two other measures would align the charter with the current county practices by removing a requirement for the Board of Supervisors to approve the appointment of non-elected department heads by the county executive officer and striking outdated procurement bid thresholds that are no longer consistent with state law.

“From the start, our committee identified two overarching principles to evaluate the county’s charter: improving the efficiency and effectiveness of county operations; and enhancing accountability,” said Charter Review Committee Chair David Butler. “Our proposed changes are grounded in these two principles and informed by the feedback we received from our community.” 

The Placer County Charter is like its Constitution - a governing document that guides the organizational structure, duties and responsibilities of the county’s elected and appointed officials. It was established in 1980 to increase citizen participation in county government, improve efficiency and provide for a responsible and cooperative county government.

Under today’s charter, the Charter Review Committee is convened every five years and must meet in open session at least twice before making any recommendations for changes to the charter to the Board of Supervisors. Recommendations are not binding and do not obligate the board to adopt them. 

One committee member from each of the county’s five supervisorial districts and two at-large members were appointed collectively by the board in May 2019.

The committee met 11 times, including hosting regional community workshops in North Lake Tahoe, Loomis and Roseville, before deciding on its recommendations in April. 

In addition to revisions to the charter, the committee forwarded several policy recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration, since the topics fell outside of the purview of the charter. Those include providing additional staff support for the District 5 supervisor and recommending additional noticing time for county actions beyond what is currently required by state law. To read the Charter Review Committee’s full report, visit https://www.placer.ca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/44540/06A.