A performance evaluation of Merced County Executive Officer Larry Combs on Tuesday morning led to no disciplinary action against the leader who took office four months ago.
On Tuesday afternoon, Combs described the closed-session meeting as a "discussion," while Supervisor Deidre Kelsey considered it the formal evaluation required under his contract. Board Chairman Jerry O'Banion said the formal review was still to come.
Kelsey called for the closed session evaluation of Combs' performance at a board meeting two weeks ago.
County officials reached after the meeting said they couldn't elaborate on the issue, which is considered a private personnel matter.
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State law requires the board to provide a detailed report after the closed session if an employee is dismissed, demoted or resigns.
After the supervisors' closed session meeting Tuesday, O'Banion simply stated that the staff was given "direction" on all closed-session agenda items.
Under section 4.02 of Combs' contract with the county, he was required to undergo one performance review before May 31, and once a year after that.
According to the employment agreement, a formal evaluation would have to follow "specific criteria developed jointly by the Board of Supervisors and the CEO and shall include a discussion of the CEO's overall compensation package and salary."
"I felt very positive about the conversation," Combs said.
Kelsey said she felt her concerns from earlier this month were "absolutely" being considered, but, "I believe there will be some follow-up," she added.
Kelsey publicly admonished Combs at the end of a board meeting March 16 for poor communication, not preparing budget updates for the supervisors and for creating new policies outside of negotiations with the county's union, she said.
Labor negotiations with county employee unions were also discussed in closed session Tuesday. "I was pleased to see that on our agenda," Kelsey said.
At the tail end of Tuesday's meeting, Kelsey requested that two items -- a public budget update and a contract for local flood control projects -- be placed on the next agenda. Both items were included in her list of earlier grievances. "It's past due that we see these two things," she said.
Also at Tuesday's meeting:
Kristy Waskiewicz, representing The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2703, complained during the public comment period that employees at juvenile hall were left out of the loop during a recent scabies outbreak there. "This is not something that should be kept secret. It is a health issue that affects the public. It affects the employees, their families, the minors," Waskiewicz said. Four county employees came down with the contagious skin disease and were forced to take time off work, said Brian Cooley, chief probation officer. Because of privacy concerns, he said he couldn't say how many wards at the detention center were infected.
The board sent a 22-acre subdivision plan called Lucca Villas back to the county's planning commission. The 17-lot residential plan was appealed by the San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center and Protect Our Water on Nov. 2, 2009. The Planning Commission will discuss the plans and environmental impact of the project at a future meeting. Lucca Villas would be located on agricultural residential land off of Leeds Road, east of the city of Merced.
The supervisors unanimously approved a $617,500 improvement project at the Lake Yosemite main beach and concession area. Nearly $400,000 for the project comes from leftover grant funding. The upgrades at Lake Yosemite include building new restrooms and an expanded concession area.
Reporter Danielle E. Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.