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End the Slush Fund for Supervisors' New Year's Resolution

The Marin County Civil Grand Jury should again address the details and use of these funds.

The Marin Independent Journal has been covering the Marin County Board of Supervisors' "community service" fund, discretionary fund, "slush fund" or whatever it is called now. In his column last Sunday, Dick Spotswood mentioned it again as one way to improve civic culture.

The numbers of fund balances was very interesting. The two supervisors with the highest balance: Susan Adams with $164,252 and Judy Arnold with $140,491 are both up for reelection in 2015. What a war chest. The other three supervisors have the smallest balances with Kate Sears $132,097, Katie Rice $70,274 and Steve Kinsey $25,327.

Is it an coincidence that Kinsey, who had a hotly contested election in 2012, has the smallest balance and in 2012 gave away $61,369?

In essence this fund gives the incumbent supervisors a large sum to be distributed and used for political patronage as cited by the Marin County Civil Grand Jury and "Alliances are created and favors curried by reason of such payments."

This fund needs to be completely eliminated, not just modified to make it look different. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. I will be monitoring use of these funds by Adams and Arnold in the coming two years very carefully if it is not eliminated.

The Marin County Civil Grand Jury should again address the details and use of these funds in detail as the supervisors continue to exhibit hubris in their use of this fund.

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Al Dugan January 08, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Thank you Marin County Grand Jury today for your report. Supervisors, ignoring this report, the second by a grand jury, would give a whole new meaning to the hubris.
Bob Ratto January 08, 2013 at 03:53 PM
The Marin County Civil Grand Jury issued a report Monday calling for significant changes to the county supervisors' practice of dispensing money from a discretionary spending fund. http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_22328448 This is some good news, the grand jury sounds like they were pretty firm in their recommendations...either change it (a lot) or get rid of it.
Al Dugan January 09, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Showtime for the supervisors. Are the superviors going to ignore TWO Marin Grand Jury reports, in 2001 and 2013? The jury is out so to speak......stay tune.
Steve Adams January 09, 2013 at 07:25 AM
Judy Arnold is running scared. She is actually talking about the slush fund, BUT stating how much "good it does." The "good" must be for her political clout. Here's one for you Al: If the Supervisors believe in a charity, they can write a check from their own personal bank account, just like the rest of us! What a novel idea. They can afford it! They make six plus figures! Keep the pressure on Dugan. I am finding the subject very interesting. Commented by: Stephen Adams
Bob Silvestri January 10, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Marin Readers' Forum Marin Independent Journal readers Eliminate 'slush fund' Although I appreciate the IJ urging reform of county supervisors' grant fund, "reform" is unfortunately not a solution. As many of us have been advocating for years, the fund needs to be completely eliminated. There's simply no justification for our supervisors having any personal control of how our taxpayer funds are allocated outside of our normal public legislative process. The county is not a grant making nonprofit institution and should not be in that "business." To waste more time and taxpayer money administrating yet another costly bureaucracy (an advisory committee and public hearing / decision making process) to allocate $325,000 per year makes absolutely no sense at all. And it will not eliminate political patronage. This abuse of power will simply continue in the form of "off the record" lobbying by supervisors for their pet projects that, with a "nod" and a "wink," will never be contested by their fellow supervisors. The supervisors' "slush" fund is a disgrace and that not a single supervisor has offered to give their funds back to the general fund is an even bigger disgrace. It's not even so much about the money as it is about what it says about their lack of character.

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